Anselmi-Molina, C.M.; Canals, M.; Morell, J.; Gonzalez, J.; Capella, J., and Mercado, A, 2012. Development of an operational nearshore wave forecast system for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
An assessment of coastal information needs in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands identified real-time wave data and improved wave forecasts as essential for supporting nearshore operations in the region. After deployment of operational wave-measuring buoys off the north, south, east, and west coasts of the Puerto Rico–Virgin Islands archipelago, the Simulating WAves Nearshore (SWAN) model was implemented for the region. The main purpose of its implementation is to provide for data needs in areas not well represented by the buoys as well as for filling the nearshore gap not addressed by the operational National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Multigrid WAVEWATCH III (NMWWIII) model forecast. The model consists of a nesting between WWIII and SWAN where oceanic boundary conditions in the form of two-dimensional wave spectra are supplied by the NMWWIII model. In this study we present results from two model-validation experiments under varying physical-forcing scenarios, one in which swell waves dominate (Rincón) and one in which wind swell dominates (Ponce). The results show good agreement between the observed and the modeled wave field for the Rincón domain, on Puerto Rico's northwest coast and facing the Atlantic Ocean, which indicates that appropriate boundary conditions are being obtained from NMWWIII and propagated correctly by SWAN into nearshore areas. Results for the Ponce domain, in Puerto Rico's southern coast and facing the Caribbean Sea, highlight the need for more accurate high-resolution wind products to properly resolve the wind-driven wave field dominating this area.