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On near-shore surface current measurements by means of radar
H.-H. ESSEN, E. MITTELSTAEDT, F. SCHIRMER
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  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.