Here is an analysis of gridded wind speed versus observed open-lake wind speed.
One issue that we face is the lack of open-lake observations of wind speed/velocity during the winter, since the buoys are pulled from November-April. To get a sense of what sort of error I might be incurring by simply using the objective analysis of coastal stations to infer open lake wind speeds, I used the summer NOAA data, MINUS the open lake buoys, and gridded wind velocity. I then compared it to the observed, in-situ wind speeds from the three buoys, using just 2008 data.
In this figure, I compare the EW component, the NS component, and the speed at all three NOAA sites. It's very clear from this that in all cases we dramatically underestimate the open lake speeds by just using the coastal stations. Not just by 10 or 20%, but by 50 or 100%. This is going to have very significant implications for mixed-layer formation.
The transfer function between coastal and open lake measurements is also a strong function of AT-WT, which I am not considering here. This makes it difficult to use these summer relationships to predict what the relationship might be like in the winter.
All of this begs the question: what do we do about it? I think one very well defined, non-trivial goal at this stage is to come up with some method of creating a reasonably realistic open-lake wind velocity field. I am beginning to look at whether Quikscat data might be useful.