National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration
United States Department of Commerce


FY 1989

A comparison of tropical Pacific surface wind analyses

Reynolds, R.W., K. Arpe, C. Gordon, S.P. Hayes, A. Leetmaa, and M.J. McPhaden

J. Climate, 2(1), 105–111, doi: 10.1175/1520-0442(1989)002<0105:ACOTPS>2 (1989)

Surface wind analyses from three data assimilation systems are compared with independent wind observations from six buoys located in the Pacific within 8 deg of the equator. The period of comparison is 6 months (February to July 1987), with daily sampling. The agreement between the assimilation systems and the independent buoy data is disappointing. The long-term mean differences between the buoy and the assimilated zonal and meridional winds are as large as 3.1 m s−1, which is comparable to the size of the means themselves. The zonal and meridional daily wind correlations range between 0.66 and 0.17. The wind field agreement was actually better among the different systems than between any system and the buoys. However, the agreement among the analysis products was usually better for the zonal winds than for the meridional winds. For the time period and locations presented, the comparisons with the independent data show that no assimilation system is clearly superior to any of the others.

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