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EMC Operational Wave Models


The EMC WAVEWATCH III® global wave model Multi-1 was decommissioned in NCEP operations on March 22, 2021. It has been replaced by a new configuration of the WAVEWATCH III global wave model, called GFS-Wave, and coupled to the Global Forecast System (GFSv16), as part of the Unified Forecast System.


It is being maintained for archival and verification purposes only.

Here are the details (PDF) on how this will affect users of this site.

Output of the new GFS-Wave model is available on NOMADS and Production FTP

*under gfs.YYYYMMDD/CC/wave/gridded and gfs.YYYYMMDD/CC/wave/station

Graphics of the GFS-Wave model output will become available some time in April on the Model Analysis and Guidance (MAG) site. Note that the current WW3 link on that page is to a preliminary set of GFS-Wave graphics. New graphics with more options will be added with the coming update in May, and will be under GFS-Wave instead of WW3.

NOTICE: The Global Wave Ensemble System (GWES) was discontinued on 23 Sep 2020 and has been replaced by an improved GEFS-Waves, consisting of a one-way nesting of the WAVEWATCH III system with the recently upgraded GFS Ensemble Forecast System. The NOAA press release on the upgrade is here, and information on GEFS is available here.

The GEFSv12 Service Change Notice (issued 8/20/2020, PDF) is here, and you can find information on the evaluation of the GEFS-Waves portion of the GEFS system in the Model Evaluation Group (MEG) Summary page on the GEFSv12 upgrade here.

The model data is available four times a day (0, 6, 12, 18)Z from:
  • Production FTP (gefs.YYYYMMDD -->cycle-->waves)
  • NOMADS (Ocean Models-->GFS Ensemble Wave-->(grib filter or https file download).
Details on the products can be found here (scroll down to GEFS - Wave - Global).
Home Product
Model Data

NOTICE: WAVEWATCH III® v6.07 released on GitHub
21st March 2019

We have moved to an open development paradigm using GitHub, which means users and developers are no longer required to submit requests for usernames and passwords to access our software package.

The WAVEWATCH III® project page is here.

The latest release (currently at 6.07) is available as a compressed tarball or zipfile from the project page.

To help users and developers navigate the new repositories, we have created two sets of guidelines in GitHub to help you navigate our community modeling framework, one for users and the other for developers:

  • If you are a user and would like to access the code for applications and do not plan to engage in development work, see the User Guide.

  • If you are a developer and would like to add a new feature to the code, see the Developer Guide.

The WW3 GitHub wiki hosts a description of the model, its main features, output options, user and developer guides, technical documentation and latest news.

Let's Go Modeling!

The WAVEWATCH III® Development Group

The operational ocean wave predictions of NOAA/NWS/NCEP use the wave model WAVEWATCH III® using operational NCEP products as input.

Detailed description of the WAVEWATCH III® model
and source code distribution.

Global Hurricane Waves Great Lakes
(NDFD winds)

The model is run four times a day: 00Z, 06Z, 12Z, and 18Z. Each run starts with 9-, 6- and 3-hour hindcasts and produces forecasts of every 3 hours from the initial time out to 180 hours.

The hurricane wave model consists of global and regional nested grids. As background information, a list of selected references and a chronological list of model changes are available.

WAVEWATCH III Global Regional Views Click on image to enlarge

Forecast Zones
Click to open the Product Viewer for the selected zone (latest model run)

Full Basin Regional Local
Atlantic Ocean
Pacific Ocean
Indian Ocean
NE Atlantic
NW Atlantic
US East Coast
NE Pacific
Alaskan Waters
Gulf of Mexico
Key West
Puerto Rico
US West Coast Zoom 1
US West Coast Zoom 2

NOAA WAVEWATCH III® Hindcast and Reanalysis Archives

MMAB currently maintains two classes of WAVEWATCH III® hindcasts.

  • A thirty-year hindcast generated from the NCEP Climate Forecast System Reanalysis and Reforecast (CFSRR) homogeneous dataset of hourly high-resolution winds. The time period covers from 1979 through 2009. This is a true hindcast generated with a single version of the model and a statistically consistent forcing wind field, and is suitable for use in climate studies.
  • An ongoing data set produced by rerunning the model from the operational wind fields to produce best-estimate nowcast datasets. This is a statistically inhomogeneous hindcast data set, because the underlying models are periodically updated. Therefore this data set should not be used for climate studies.

Detailed descriptions of the hindcasts and reanalyses, with links to the datasets, validation statistics from buoy match-ups, and visualizations of the model data fields, can be found in the WAVEWATCH III® Hindcast and Reanalysis Archives


Two COMET modules are available regarding WAVEWATCH III® and analysis of ocean swell:

Registration is free for the courses.


While WAVEWATCH III® is an operational model, we cannot guarantee the timeliness or accuracy of the model data and figures offered on this site. Please see our disclaimer for more information.

Questions or Comments?

We welcome any questions or comments you may have on the WAVEWATCH III® system.

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Page last modified: Tuesday, 23-Mar-2021 15:43:29 UTC