In the previous chapters we have been dealing with theoretical, physical and numerical aspects of wave modelling, and the WAM model in particular. It is now time to face practical problems and to turn to applications. The WAM model is one of the most widely used wave models in the world, both for forecasting and hindcasting on global and regional scales. There is therefore a wealth of applications and experience which can be used to discuss and to judge the behaviour of the model.
The purpose of applications
Model applications serve two purposes: a practical one and a scientific one. In practical applications the model is accepted as a reliable tool. As such it can be used either in real-time, to forecast sea conditions for ship routing, offshore operations and for coastal protection, or in a hindcasting mode for computation of the sea state during a particular event and to determine wave climatology and extremal statistics. For scientific purposes, once properly verified, the model is, within the limits derived from its formulation, a representation of the real world. It can therefore be used for numerical experiments to simulate field experiments under conditions that would be difficult to find or expensive to organize. The model is a tool for the better understanding of the relevant phenomena and how they interact. It can also be used to study the sensitivity of the results to a change in the input conditions.