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WAVEWATCH III™ © 2009 National Weather Service (NWS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, all rights reserved. WAVEWATCH III™ is a trademark of the NWS. No unauthorized use without permission.

Model Description

WAVEWATCH III™ (Tolman 1997, 1999a, 2009) is a third generation wave model developed at NOAA/NCEP in the spirit of the WAM model (WAMDIG 1988, Komen et al. 1994). It is a further development of the model WAVEWATCH, as developed at Delft University of Technology (Tolman 1989, 1991a) and WAVEWATCH II, developed at NASA, Goddard Space Flight Center (e.g., Tolman 1992). WAVEWATCH III™, however, differs from its predecessors in many important points such as the governing equations, the model structure, the numerical methods and the physical parameterizations. Furthermore, with model version 3.14, WAVEWATCH III™ is evolving from a wave model into a wave modeling framework, which allows for easy development of additional physical and numerical approaches to wave modeling.

WAVEWATCH III™ solves the random phase spectral action density balance equation for wavenumber-direction spectra. The implicit assumption of this equation is that properties of medium (water depth and current) as well as the wave field itself vary on time and space scales that are much larger than the variation scales of a single wave. With version 3.14 some source term options for extremely shallow water (surf zone) have been included, as well as wetting and drying of grid points. Whereas the surf-zone physics implemented so far are still fairly rudimentary, it does imply that the wave model can now be applied to arbitrary shallow water.

Model Features

Physical features:

Numerical features:

Output options:

Documentation and Source Code

The documentation of WAVEWATCH III™ is available on line in pdf files. For each released model version an errata page is maintained, which is the sole source of distributing errors and fixes of the model. To receive information on model changes etc, subscribe to the MMAB mailing list.

Model version 1.15:

Model version 1.18:

Model version 2.22 :

Model version 3.14 :

Model distribution

Model versions 1.18 and 2.22 have been distributed as public domain software, and can be found at the previous WAVEWATCH source code ftp site Starting with model version 3.14, WAVEWATCH III™ is distributed under an open source style license, through a password protected distribution site. To get access to this site, go to the license page. Upon agreement to the license (click on link at the bottom of the page), information on obtaining a user ID and password will be provided. Also use this approach if you have forgotten you user ID and/or password.

Please note that code requests are considered manually, on a case-by-case basis, and may take up to a month for a response to be provided.

Model development

The model is subject to continuous development. The following new features are presently being incorporated in WAVEWATCH III™ at NCEP and by our partners, or are considered for incorporation in the future.

New releases will generally become available after implementation of a new model version at NCEP. Research model versions may be made available to those interested in and committed to basic model development. Contact NCEP.EMC.wavewatch@NOAA.gov for requests to get access to the research versions of the model.

References

Booij, N. and L. H. Holthuijsen, 1987: Propagation of ocean waves in discrete spectral wave models. J. Comp. Phys., 68, 307-326.

Chawla, A., and H. L. Tolman, 2007: Automated grid generation for WAVEWATCH III. NOAA / NWS / NCEP / MMAB Technical Note 254, 71 pp.

Chawla, A., and H. L. Tolman, 2008: Obstruction grids for spectral wave models, Ocean Modelling, 22, 12-25.

Komen, G. J., L. Cavaleri, M. Donelan, K. Hasselmann, S. Hasselmann and P. A. E. M. Janssen, 1994: Dynamics and Modelling of Ocean Waves. Cambridge University Press, 532 pp.

Chawla, A., and H. L. Tolman, 2007: Automated grid generation for WAVEWATCH III. NOAA / NWS / NCEP / OMB Technical Note 254, 71 pp..

Chawla, A. and H. L. Tolman, 2008: Obstruction grids for wave models. Ocean Modelling, 22, 12-25.

Hanson, J. L. and R. E. Jensen, 2004: Wave system diagnostics for numerical wave models. In 8th International Workshop on Wave Hindcasting and Forecasting, JCOMM Tech. Rep. 29, WMO/TD-No.1319.

Hanson, J.L., B. A. Tracy, H. L. Tolman and D. Scott, 2006: Pacific hindcast performance evaluation of three numerical wave models. in 9th International Workshop on Wave Hindcasting and Forecasting, JCOMM Tech.Rep.34. Paper A2.

Hanson, J. L., B. A. Tracy, H. L. Tolman and R. D. Scott, 2009: Pacific hindcast performance of three numerical wave models, J. Atmos. Oceanic Techn., In Press.

Tolman, H. L., 1989: The numerical model WAVEWATCH: a third generation model for the hindcasting of wind waves on tides in shelf seas. Communications on Hydraulic and Geotechnical Engineering, Delft Univ. of Techn., ISSN 0169-6548, Rep. no. 89-2, 72 pp.

Tolman, H. L., 1991a: A third-generation model for wind waves on slowly varying, unsteady and inhomogeneous depths and currents. J. Phys. Oceanogr. , 21, 782-797

Tolman, H. L., 1991b: Effects of tides and storm surges on North Sea wind waves. J. Phys. Oceanogr. , 21, 766-781

Tolman, H. L., 1992: Effects of numerics on the physics in a third-generation wind-wave model. J. Phys. Oceanogr., 22, 1095-1111.

Tolman, H. L., 1995: On the selection of propagation schemes for a spectral wind wave model. NWS/NCEP Office Note 411, 30 pp. + figures.

Tolman, H. L., 1997: User manual and system documentation of WAVEWATCH-III version 1.15. NOAA / NWS / NCEP / OMB Technical Note 151, 97 pp. (0.74MB PDF file).

Tolman, H. L., 1999a: User manual and system documentation of WAVEWATCH-III version 1.18. NOAA / NWS / NCEP / OMB Technical Note 166, 110 pp. (0.76Mb pdf file).

Tolman, H. L., 1999b: WAVEWATCH-III version 1.18: Generating GRIB files. NOAA / NWS / NCEP / OMB Technical Note 167, 7 pp. (0.15MB pdf file)

Tolman, H. L., 1999c: WAVEWATCH-III version 1.18: Post-processing using NCAR graphics. NOAA / NWS / NCEP / OMB Technical Note 168, 9 pp. (0.15Mb pdf file).

Tolman, H. L., 2001: Improving propagation in ocean wave models. Ocean Wave Measurement and Analysis, San Francisco, CA, B. L. Edge and J. M. Hemsley, Eds., ASCE, 507-516.

Tolman, H. L., 2002a: Distributed memory concepts in the wave model WAVEWATCH III. Parallel Computing, 28, 35-52.

Tolman, H. L., 2002b: Validation of WAVEWATCH III version 1.15 for a global domain. NOAA / NWS / NCEP / OMB Technical Note Nr. 213, 33 pp. (2.7Mb pdf file).

Tolman, H. L., 2002c: Alleviating the Garden Sprinkler Effect in wind wave models. Ocean Modelling, 4, 269-289.

Tolman, H.L. 2002d: Limiters in third-generation wind wave models. Global Atmosphere and Ocean. System, 8, 67-83.

Tolman, H. L., 2002f: Testing of WAVEWATCH III version 2.22 in NCEP's NWW3 ocean wave model suite. NOAA / NWS / NCEP / OMB Technical Note Nr. 214, 99 pp. (13 Mb pdf file in color or gresyscales).

Tolman, H. L., 2002g: User manual and system documentation of WAVEWATCH-III version 2.22. NOAA / NWS / NCEP / MMAB Technical Note 222, 133 pp. (0.89Mb pdf file).

Tolman, H. L., 2003: Treatment of unresolved islands and ice in wind wave models. Ocean Modelling, 5, 219-231.

Tolman, H. L., 2006: Development of a multi-grid version of WAVEWATCH III. NOAA / NWS / NCEP / MMAB Technical Note 256, 88 pp.+ Appendices.

Tolman, H. L., 2008: A mosaic approach to wind wave modeling. Ocean Modelling, 25, 35-47.

Tolman, H. L., 2009: User manual and system documentation of WAVEWATCH III version 3.14. NOAA / NWS / NCEP / MMAB Technical Note 276, 194 pp.+ Appendices (0.83Mb pdf file).

Tolman, H. L., and J. H, G, M. Alves, 2005: Numerical modeling of wind waves generated by tropical cyclones using moving grids. Ocean Modelling, 9, 305-323.

Tolman, H. L., B. Balasubramaniyan, L. D. Burroughs, D. V. Chalikov, Y. Y. Chao, H. S. Chen, and V. M. Gerald, 2002: Development and implementation of wind generated ocean surface wave models at NCEP. Weather and Forecasting, 17, 311-333.

Tolman, H. L., and N. Booij, 1998: Modeling wind waves using wavenumber-direction spectra and a variable wavenumber grid. The Global Atmosphere and Ocean System, 6, 295-309.

Tolman, H. L. and D. Chalikov, 1996: Source terms in a third-generation wind-wave model. J. Phys. Oceanogr, 26, 2497-2518.

Vincent, L. and P. Soille, 1991: Watersheds in digital spaces: An efficient algorithm based on immersion simulations. IEEE Transactions of Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence, 13, 583-598.

WAMDIG 1988: The WAM model - A third generation ocean wave prediction model. Journal of Physical Oceanography, 18, 1775-1810.


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