Comparative wave measurements at a wave energy site with a recently developed low-cost wave buoy (Spotter), ADCP and pressure loggers

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  • 1 School of Civil Engineering, University of Queensland, St Lucia QLD 4072, Australia
  • 2 Sofar Ocean Ltd., Pier 50, Shed B, Bulkhead Office, San Francisco, CA 94158, United States
  • 3 Wave Swell Energy Ltd., 50 Camberwell Road, Hawthorn East 3121, VIC, Australia
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Abstract

Wave measurements from a new, low-cost, real-time wave buoy (Spotter) are investigated in a comparative study as part of a site characterization study at a wave energy candidate site at King Island, Tasmania, Australia. Measurements from the Sofar Ocean Spotter buoy are compared with concurrent measurements from a Teledyne RD Instrument (RDI) 1200 kHz Work Horse ADCP and two RBRsolo3 D wave16 pressure loggers. The comparison period between 8th August – 12th October 2019 provides both the shallowest and longest continuous published comparison undertaken with the Spotter buoy.

Strong agreement was evident between the Spotter buoy and RDI ADCP of key wave parameters including the significant wave height, peak wave period, and mean wave direction, with the mean values of those parameters across the full deployment period agreeing within 3%. Surface wave spectra and directional spectra are also analyzed with good agreement observed over the majority of the frequency domain, although the Spotter buoy records approximately 17% less energy within a narrow frequency band near the peak frequency when compared to the RDI ADCP. Measurements derived from the pressure loggers routinely underestimated the significant wave height and overestimated the mean wave period over the deployment period. The comparison highlights the suitability of the Spotter buoy for low-cost wave resource studies, with accurate measurements of key parameters and spectra observed.

Corresponding author: Orrin Lancaster, orrin.lancaster@uqconnect.edu.au

Abstract

Wave measurements from a new, low-cost, real-time wave buoy (Spotter) are investigated in a comparative study as part of a site characterization study at a wave energy candidate site at King Island, Tasmania, Australia. Measurements from the Sofar Ocean Spotter buoy are compared with concurrent measurements from a Teledyne RD Instrument (RDI) 1200 kHz Work Horse ADCP and two RBRsolo3 D wave16 pressure loggers. The comparison period between 8th August – 12th October 2019 provides both the shallowest and longest continuous published comparison undertaken with the Spotter buoy.

Strong agreement was evident between the Spotter buoy and RDI ADCP of key wave parameters including the significant wave height, peak wave period, and mean wave direction, with the mean values of those parameters across the full deployment period agreeing within 3%. Surface wave spectra and directional spectra are also analyzed with good agreement observed over the majority of the frequency domain, although the Spotter buoy records approximately 17% less energy within a narrow frequency band near the peak frequency when compared to the RDI ADCP. Measurements derived from the pressure loggers routinely underestimated the significant wave height and overestimated the mean wave period over the deployment period. The comparison highlights the suitability of the Spotter buoy for low-cost wave resource studies, with accurate measurements of key parameters and spectra observed.

Corresponding author: Orrin Lancaster, orrin.lancaster@uqconnect.edu.au
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