Marine Science Faculty Publications

Assessment of CODAR Seasonde and WERA HF Radars in Mapping Surface Currents on the West Florida Shelf

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Concurrently operated on the West Florida shelf for the purpose of observing surface currents are three long-range (4.9 MHz) Coastal Ocean Dynamics Applications Radar (CODAR) SeaSonde and two medianrange (12.7MHz) Wellen Radar (WERA) high-frequency (HF) radar systems. These HF radars overlook an array of moored acoustic Doppler current profilers (ADCPs), three of which are presently within the radar footprint. Analyzed herein are 3 months of simultaneous observations. Both the SeaSonde and WERA systems generally agree with the ADCPs to within root-mean-square differences (rmsd) for hourly radial velocity components of 5.1-9.2 and 3.8-6.5cm s-1 for SeaSonde and WERA, respectively, and within rmsd for 36-h low-pass filtered radial velocity components of 2.8-6.0 and 2.2-4.3cm s-1 for SeaSonde and WERA, respectively. The bearing offset and tidal and subtidal currents of total velocities are also assessed using the ADCP data. Despite differences in a variety of aspects between the direction-finding CODAR SeaSonde (long range, effective depth of 2.4 m, integration time of 4 h, and idealized antenna patterns) and the beamforming WERA (median range, effective depth of 0.9 m, and integration time of 1 h), both HF radar systems demonstrated good surface current mapping capability. The differences between the velocities measured with the HF radar and the ADCP are sufficiently small in this low-energy shelf that much of these rmsd values may be accounted for by the expected measurement differences due to the horizontal, vertical, and temporal sampling differences of the ocean current observing systems used.

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Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology, v. 31, issue 6, p. 1363-1382