RADWave - Wave analysis from Altimeter data

Documentation Status

Satellite radar altimeters can be used to determine significant wave height and wind speed [Young2011]. Since the first launch of the GEOSAT (GEOdetic SATellite) altimeter in 1985, there has been almost continuous data collection. From these measurements one can calculate wave conditions namely wave height, period and power [Young2018]. Analysis of this long-term, high resolution spatio-temporal record brings new insights into inter-annual, seasonal and decadal variations of regional wave climates.

Altimeter analysis

RADWave is Python package that provides a mechanism to access altimeter datasets through web-enabled data services (THREDDS) using the Australian Ocean Data Network [AODN] database. This dataset spans from 1985-present and has already been calibrated and validated by [Ribal2019]. RADWave allows the user to query over a range of spatial and temporal scales altimeter parameters in specific geographical regions and subsequently calculates significant wave heights, periods, group velocities, average wave energy densities and wave energy fluxes.


RADWave can be used to easily calculate past wave conditions and infers long term wave climate variability, providing new insights on wave modal conditions, seasonal changes, long-term trends and associated modulation by climate oscillations.


Designed for researchers and industry partners focusing on offshore wave conditions globally, RADWave enhances the ease of access and analysis of altimeter data.

Indices and tables

[Ribal2019]Ribal, A. & Young, I. R. - 33 years of globally calibrated wave height and wind speed data based on altimeter observations. Scientific Data 6(77), p.100, 2019.
[Young2011]Young, I. R., Zieger, S. & Babanin, A. V. - Global trends in wind speed and wave height. Science 332(6028), p451–455, 2011.
[Young2018]Young, I. R. & Donelan, M. - On the determination of global ocean wind and wave climate from satellite observations. Remote Sensing of Environment 215, 228–241, 2018.