Wind data for the period July––October 1994 from an ocean buoy moored off the west coast of New Zealand have been compared with model wind data from the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) and data from the nearest land-based station. The buoy and ECMWF winds were highly coherent and strongly polarized in the alongshore direction, suggesting that the ECMWF model correctly accounts for the orographic effect of the mountainous New Zealand landmass on the prevailing synoptic weather systems. At low frequencies, the ECMWF data can be used as a substitute for in situ wind data in oceanographic applications in the New Zealand region. This is a similar result to that reported in some Northern Hemisphere studies. In contrast, winds at the land-based site were much weaker and less strongly aligned alongshore than winds recorded offshore.
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