WRF model and ASAR-retrieved 10 m wind field comparison in a case study over Eastern Mediterranean Sea
In Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) imagery, signatures of coherent atmospheric structures, due to sea surface roughness modulation by surface winds, are usually well detected. In the present study, the wind field derived from the Envisat Advanced SAR (ASAR) sensor has been analyzed and compared with those simulated with a regional atmospheric model in a case study over an area located in the eastern Mediterranean Sea, extending southward and eastward of Crete island. This is a region subject to complex wind patterns, due to the interaction of the almost steady northerly Etesian wind with the orography of the islands in the region.
The ASAR Wide Swath Mode images provide datasets at resolutions exceptionally high compared to model data, appropriate for investigating the mesoscale phenomena on the marine atmospheric boundary layer and to retrieve the surface wind field. The latter has been obtained with a methodology based on the 2-D Continuous Wavelet Transform, suitable to isolate the backscatter patterns on the base of energy and scale considerations.
Numerical simulations with the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model have been performed using three 2-way nested domains, the inner one covering the area of interest with a resolution of 1 km. Several simulations, using different diffusion and boundary layer parameterization schemes, have been performed in a case study corresponding to mountain lee waves detected in the ASAR image. The 10 m winds resulting from the numerical experiments have been compared to those retrieved from the ASAR, both quantitatively and qualitatively, in order to analyze the correspondence of observed and simulated wind structures.