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On near-shore surface current measurements by means of radar

Deutsche Hydrographische Zeitschrift 36, pp. 1...14, 1981.
Abstract - - A radar system is presented which allows the measurement of surface currents in a coastal area of about 50 km x 50 km. The basic theoretical ideas of this system are described as well as the measuring equipment and data processing developed by Barick, Evans and Weber [1977] from NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration).

Radar data are available from the German Bight for a 26-hour period during MARSEN 1979 (Marine Remote Sensing Experiment in the North Sea).Tha data have been evaluated in terms of surface currents and compared with a record from a moored current meter, 7 meters below the surface. According to the comparison surface currents as observed by radar differ from the conventionally measured sub-surface currents not more than 15 cm s-1 in speed. With regard to the current direction the agreement between both independent measurements seems to be best (within 10 degrees) when the surface current speed exceeds 30 cm s-1.

However, these comparative numbers do not take into account near-surface vertical shears. Thus, currents measured by means of radar are probably more accurate than those numbers indicate.
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