Modelling frontal discontinuities in wind fields

Dan Cornford, Ian T. Nabney, Christopher K. I. Williams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A Bayesian procedure for the retrieval of wind vectors over the ocean using satellite borne scatterometers requires realistic prior near-surface wind field models over the oceans. We have implemented carefully chosen vector Gaussian Process models; however in some cases these models are too smooth to reproduce real atmospheric features, such as fronts. At the scale of the scatterometer observations, fronts appear as discontinuities in wind direction. Due to the nature of the retrieval problem a simple discontinuity model is not feasible, and hence we have developed a constrained discontinuity vector Gaussian Process model which ensures realistic fronts. We describe the generative model and show how to compute the data likelihood given the model. We show the results of inference using the model with Markov Chain Monte Carlo methods on both synthetic and real data.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)43-58
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Nonparametric Statistics
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 2002

Bibliographical note

This is an electronic version of an article published in Cornford, Dan; Nabney, Ian T. and Williams, Christopher K. I. (2002). Modelling frontal discontinuities in wind fields. Journal of Nonparametric Statistics, 14 (1-2), pp. 43-58. Journal of Nonparametric Statistics is available online at:


  • Gaussian processes
  • Discontinuities
  • Wind fields
  • Fronts


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