AbstractDirectional wave spectra acquired in hurricane reconnaissance missions are compared with wind-wave spectral models. The comparison result is quantified with two indices of model–measurement spectral agreement. In the main region of hurricane coverage, the indices vary sinusoidally with the azimuth angle referenced to the hurricane heading while showing a weak dependence on the radial distance from the hurricane center. The measured spectra agree well with three models evaluated in the back and right quarters, and they are underdeveloped in the front and left quarters. The local wind and wave directions also show a weak radial dependence and sinusoidal variation along the azimuth. The wind and wave vectors are almost collinear in the back and right quarters; they diverge azimuthally and become almost perpendicular in the left quarter. The azimuthally cyclical correlation between the indices of spectral agreement and the wind-wave directional difference is well described by the sinusoidal variations. Also discussed is the wide range of the spectral slopes observed in both hurricane and nonhurricane field data. It is unlikely that the observed spectral slope variation is caused by Doppler frequency shift from background currents. No clear correlation is found between spectral slope and various wind and wave parameters. The result suggests that the spectral slope needs to be treated as a stochastic random variable. Complementing the existing wind-wave spectral models that prescribe a fixed spectral slope of either −4 or −5, a general spectral model with its spectral parameters accommodating a variable spectral slope is introduced.
Journal of Physical Oceanography – American Meteorological Society
Published: Oct 3, 2017
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