Assessment and Calibration of ERA5 Severe Winds in the Atlantic Ocean Using Satellite Data


In this paper, we analyze the surface winds of ECMWF ERA5 reanalysis in the Atlantic Ocean. The first part addresses a reanalysis validation, studying the spatial distribution of the errors and the performance as a function of the percentiles, with a further investigation under cyclonic conditions. The second part proposes and compares two calibration models, a simple least-squares linear regression (LR) and the quantile mapping method (QM). Our results indicate that ERA5 provides high-quality winds for non-extreme conditions, especially at the eastern boundaries, with bias between −0.5 and 0.3 m/s and RMSE below 1.5 m/s. The reanalysis errors are site-dependent, where large RMSE and severe underestimation are found in tropical latitudes and locations following the warm currents. The most extreme winds in tropical cyclones show the worst results, with RMSE above 5 m/s. Apart from these areas, the strong winds at extratropical locations are well represented. The bias-correction models have proven to be very efficient in removing systematic bias. The LR works well for low-to-mild wind intensities while the QM is better for the upper percentiles and winds above 15 m/s—an improvement of 10% in RMSE and 50% for the bias compared to the original reanalysis is reported.
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