--- Welcome to the official ADCIRCWiki site! The site is currently under construction, with limited information. ---
For general information, see the ADCIRC site, ADCIRC FAQ, or the ADCIRC Wikipedia page. For model documentation not yet available on the wiki, see the ADCIRC site. New content is being continuously added to the ADCIRCWiki, and material from the main ADCIRC site will be gradually transitioned over to the wiki.

Wind Stress

Revision as of 16:31, 11 May 2020 by Taylorgasher (talk | contribs) (Added basics of overland/over-water, wind heights, and wind averaging times.)
Jump to: navigation, search

When wind blows over the water, it exerts a shear stress at the water surface that transfers horizontal momentum vertically downward across the air–sea interface, driving circulation. In ADCIRC, wind stress is an input forcing term, with several different formats provided. See the NWS parameter for available formats. In most cases, the exact wind stress to be applied to the model is not provided, therefore ADCIRC must determine how to convert a given wind speed to the actual stress applied at the ocean surface. This page covers the various aspects of this process, as well as the options available to the user.

Definition of Winds

The characteristics of wind forcing are often broken down in three ways:

  1. Whether the winds are considered to be over-water (termed "marine exposure") or over-land
  2. The elevation above the sea (or ground) surface of the winds
  3. The time-averaging (if any) that has been applied

ADCIRC generally expects 10-meter, 10-minute winds at their actual exposure, although the exact expectations vary depending on the input type. For instance, when Holland-type wind inputs are provided (e.g. NWS=8 or NWS=20), the wind speed is expected to be the 1-minute maximum sustained wind at 10 meters elevation. If marine-exposure winds are provided, then surface roughness reductions may be needed [1] [2] . If winds are provided with a different averaging time, then an appropriate correction may be needed, though winds with averaging times of 10 to 60 minutes are generally considered to be quite similar; this is the so-called mesoscale gap. For recommendations on wind time-scale conversions not handled internally by ADCIRC, for tropical cyclones, see the WMO guidelines of Harper et al. [3] .


  1. Simiu, E., Scanlan, R.H., 1996. Wind effects on structures: fundamentals and applications to design, 3rd ed. ed. John Wiley, New York.
  2. Simiu, E., Yeo, D., 2018. Wind effects on structures: modern structural design for wind, Fourth edition. ed. John Wiley & Sons, Hoboken, NJ.
  3. Harper, B., Kepert, J., Ginger, J., 2010. Guidelines for converting between various wind averaging periods in tropical cyclone conditions (No. WMO/TD-No. 1555). WMO, Geneva, Switzerland.