A hindcast is a way of testing a mathematical model. Known or closely estimated inputs for past events are entered into the model to see how well the output matches the known results. Hindcasting is also known as backtesting. An example of hindcasting would be entering climate forcings into a climate model. If the hindcast showed reasonably accurate climate response, the model would be considered successful. In oceanography and meteorology, hindcasting usually refers to a numerical model integration of a historical period where no observations have been assimilated. This distinguishes a hindcast run from a reanalysis. Oceanographic observations of salinity and temperature as well as observations of surface wave parameters such as the significant wave height are much scarcer than meteorological observations, making hindcasting more common in oceanography than in meteorology. Also, since surface waves represent a forced system where the wind is the only generating force, wave hindcasting is often considered adequate for generating a reasonable representation of the wave climate with little need for a full reanalysis. Hindcasting is also used in hydrology for model stream flows.

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Source: What does HINDCAST mean?
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