Estimation and Assessment of Errors Related to Antenna Pattern Distortion in CODAR SeaSonde High-Frequency Radar Ocean Current Measurements

Kenneth Laws University of California, Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, California

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Jeffrey D. Paduan Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, California

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John Vesecky University of California, Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, California

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Abstract

A simulation-based investigation of errors in HF radar–derived, near-surface ocean current measurements is presented. The simulation model is specific to Coastal Ocean Dynamics Application Radar (CODAR) SeaSonde radar systems that employ a compact, collocated antenna geometry. In this study, radial current retrievals are obtained by processing simulated data using unmodified CODAR data processing software. To avoid limiting the results to specific ocean current and wind wave scenarios, the analyses employ large ensembles of randomly varying simulated environmental conditions. The effect of antenna pattern distortion on the accuracy of retrievals is investigated using 40 different antenna sensitivity patterns of varying levels of distortion. A single parameter is derived to describe the level of the antenna pattern distortion. This parameter is found to be highly correlated with the rms error of the simulated radial currents (r = 0.94) and therefore can be used as a basis for evaluating the severity of site-specific antenna pattern distortions. Ensemble averages of the subperiod simulated current retrieval standard deviations are found to be highly correlated with the antenna pattern distortion parameter (r = 0.92). Simulations without distortions of the antenna pattern indicate that an rms radial current error of 2.9 cm s−1 is a minimum bound on the error of a SeaSonde ocean radar system, given a typical set of operating parameters and a generalized ensemble of ocean conditions.

Corresponding author address: Kenneth Laws, Baskin School of Engineering, University of California, Santa Cruz, 1156 High St., Santa Cruz, CA 95064. Email: kip@soe.ucsc.edu

Abstract

A simulation-based investigation of errors in HF radar–derived, near-surface ocean current measurements is presented. The simulation model is specific to Coastal Ocean Dynamics Application Radar (CODAR) SeaSonde radar systems that employ a compact, collocated antenna geometry. In this study, radial current retrievals are obtained by processing simulated data using unmodified CODAR data processing software. To avoid limiting the results to specific ocean current and wind wave scenarios, the analyses employ large ensembles of randomly varying simulated environmental conditions. The effect of antenna pattern distortion on the accuracy of retrievals is investigated using 40 different antenna sensitivity patterns of varying levels of distortion. A single parameter is derived to describe the level of the antenna pattern distortion. This parameter is found to be highly correlated with the rms error of the simulated radial currents (r = 0.94) and therefore can be used as a basis for evaluating the severity of site-specific antenna pattern distortions. Ensemble averages of the subperiod simulated current retrieval standard deviations are found to be highly correlated with the antenna pattern distortion parameter (r = 0.92). Simulations without distortions of the antenna pattern indicate that an rms radial current error of 2.9 cm s−1 is a minimum bound on the error of a SeaSonde ocean radar system, given a typical set of operating parameters and a generalized ensemble of ocean conditions.

Corresponding author address: Kenneth Laws, Baskin School of Engineering, University of California, Santa Cruz, 1156 High St., Santa Cruz, CA 95064. Email: kip@soe.ucsc.edu

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