The archives currently contain two classes of hindcasts.
Both are described in detail below, with links to the datasets, validation statistics from buoy match-ups, and visualizations of the model data fields.
These hindcasts have been developed in stages, as part of a NOPP project to improve the physics packages of wind-wave models. In atmospheric modeling, a statistically homogeneous dataset can be generated by performing a reanalysis with consistent model setup and using all available data for the entire period. There is not enough data to develop a similar reanalysis for wind waves. However, wave dynamics are different from atmospheric dynamics, in the sense that they represent a forced/damped problem rather than an initial value problem, and wind forcing is the dominant process driving wave dynamics. Therefore it's possible to produce an accurate hindcast without assimilating wave data, but using a wind field from a long-term reanalysis such as the Climate Forecast System Reanalysis (CFSR, Saha et al 2010). This is a couple reanalysis of atmospheric, oceanic, sea-ice, and land data, at much higher resolution than previous reanalysis.Phase 1 (released in 2012)
The production hindcast uses the operational multi-grid spectral wave model WAVEWATCH III® with operational NCEP winds and ice fields as input forcing fields. No wave data assimilation is performed. The model is run after the end of each month, with all available data.
UPDATE: 21 Dec 2020
EMC's WAVEWATCH III global wave model Multi-1 will be decommissioned in NCEP operations in February 2021. It is being replaced by a new configuration of global wave model coupled to GFS v16. Details of GFS v16 are available here. There is a plan in place to run the GEFS v12 wave model reanalysis/reforecasts for a period of 20 years starting in 1999. Details on these will be made available later.