Renewable Energy


A wave model test bed off central Oregon Coast for resource characterization is established.

A four-level nested-grid modeling approach from global scale to local scale was employed.

Model skills of WWIII and SWAN for simulating wave resource parameters were evaluated.

WWIII ST4 physics package outperformed ST2 and ST6 in simulating wave power density and significant wave height.


This paper presents a test bed study conducted to evaluate best practices in wave modeling to characterize energy resources. The model test bed off the central Oregon Coast was selected because of the high wave energy and available measured data at the site. Two third-generation spectral wave models, SWAN and WWIII, were evaluated. A four-level nested-grid approach—from global to test bed scale—was employed. Model skills were assessed using a set of model performance metrics based on comparison of six simulated wave resource parameters and observations from a wave buoy inside the test bed. Both WWIII and SWAN performed well at the test bed site and exhibited similar modeling skills. The ST4 physics package with WWIII, which represents better physics for wave growth and dissipation, out-performed ST2 physics and improved wave power density and significant wave height predictions. However, ST4 physics tended to over-predict the wave energy period. The newly developed ST6 physics did not improve the overall model skill for predicting the six wave resource parameters. Sensitivity analysis using different wave frequencies and direction resolutions indicated the model results were not sensitive to spectral resolutions at the test bed site, likely due to the absence of complex bathymetric and geometric features.


Wave energy

Resource characterization

Test bed study

Numerical wave modeling

WaveWatch III


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© 2016 Published by Elsevier Ltd.