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Assessment of HF Radar in Mapping Surface Currents under Different Sea States

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  • 1 College of Ocean and Earth Sciences, and Research and Development Center for Ocean Observation Technologies, and Key Laboratory of Underwater Acoustic Communication and Marine Information Technology, Ministry of Education, Xiamen University, Xiamen, China
  • | 2 Fujian Marine Forecasts, Fuzhou, China
  • | 3 Dongshan Swire Marine Station, Xiamen University, Xiamen, China
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Abstract

Two Ocean State Monitoring and Analyzing Radar (OSMAR071) (7.8 MHz) high-frequency (HF) radars and four moored ADCPs were operated concurrently in the southwestern Taiwan Strait during January–March 2013. Qualitative and quantitative comparisons of surface currents were conducted between the HF radars and the ADCPs. Except for a location probably affected by shallow water and sand waves on the Taiwan Banks, the HF-radar-derived radial currents (radials) showed good agreement with the ADCP measured results (correlation coefficient: 0.89–0.98; rms difference: 0.07–0.13 m s−1). To provide further insight into the geophysical processes involved, the performance of the HF-radar-derived radials was further evaluated under different sea states (sea states: 2–6). It was found that both the data returns of the radar-derived radials and the differences between the radar-derived radials and the ADCP-derived radials varied with sea state. The HF radar performed best at sea state 4 in terms of data returns. The spatial coverage increased rapidly as the waves increased from sea state 2 to 4. However, it decreased slowly from sea state 4 to 6. Second, the radial differences were relatively high under lower sea states (2 and 3) at the location where the best agreement was obtained between the radar and ADCP radials, whereas the differences increased as the sea states increased at the other three locations. The differences between the radials measured by the HF radars and the ADCPs could be attributed to wave-induced Stokes drift and spatial sampling differences.

Corresponding author: Shaoping Shang, spshang@xmu.edu.cn

Abstract

Two Ocean State Monitoring and Analyzing Radar (OSMAR071) (7.8 MHz) high-frequency (HF) radars and four moored ADCPs were operated concurrently in the southwestern Taiwan Strait during January–March 2013. Qualitative and quantitative comparisons of surface currents were conducted between the HF radars and the ADCPs. Except for a location probably affected by shallow water and sand waves on the Taiwan Banks, the HF-radar-derived radial currents (radials) showed good agreement with the ADCP measured results (correlation coefficient: 0.89–0.98; rms difference: 0.07–0.13 m s−1). To provide further insight into the geophysical processes involved, the performance of the HF-radar-derived radials was further evaluated under different sea states (sea states: 2–6). It was found that both the data returns of the radar-derived radials and the differences between the radar-derived radials and the ADCP-derived radials varied with sea state. The HF radar performed best at sea state 4 in terms of data returns. The spatial coverage increased rapidly as the waves increased from sea state 2 to 4. However, it decreased slowly from sea state 4 to 6. Second, the radial differences were relatively high under lower sea states (2 and 3) at the location where the best agreement was obtained between the radar and ADCP radials, whereas the differences increased as the sea states increased at the other three locations. The differences between the radials measured by the HF radars and the ADCPs could be attributed to wave-induced Stokes drift and spatial sampling differences.

Corresponding author: Shaoping Shang, spshang@xmu.edu.cn
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