Marine Science Faculty Publications

Verification of Wave Measurement Systems

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test and evaluation, wave measurement, waves

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)


Given the societal importance of reliable and accurate ocean observations, the wave monitoring community (including academic researchers, agency scientists, resource managers, and representatives from wave instrument manufacturers) came together to develop a set of protocols for the test and evaluation of wave measurement systems in support of the 2009 National Operational Wave Observation Plan. These protocols are focused on a wide range of wave measurement instruments and their respective performance in successfully recovering the “First-5” Fourier components of the incident wave field. Performance is determined by comparing each system’s output with a verifiable reference method over a predetermined range of wave frequencies. It is recommended that permanent wave test facilities are created on the West Coast (Monterey Bay, CA—deep water) and the East Coast (Duck, NC—shallow water) for continued evaluations of existing and new technologies. It was recognized that no absolute standard exists for the determination of the “First-5” across all spatial domains. Therefore, it was agreed that the Directional Waverider DWR-MkIII system was the best available reference/standard for the deep and intermediate water wave evaluations as verified by the laser array (LASAR) at the ConocoPhillips Ekofisk offshore platform complex in the North Sea. The long linear array at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Field Research Facility could be used as the standard for shallow water wave evaluations. Finally, given the significance of wave measurements, an appropriate level of quality assurance and quality control procedures must be included as part of any test and evaluation effort. The details of the proposed protocols for the verification of wave measurement systems are described.

Citation / Publisher Attribution

Marine Technology Society Journal, v. 47, no. 5, p. 104-116