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Surface currents in the German Bight measured by backscattered radio waves - a comparison with conventional measurements and model results.


H.-H. ESSEN, M.M. JANOPAUL, E. MITTELSTAEDT, J. BACKHAUS
North Sea Dynamics (ed. by Sündermann and Lenz), pp. 159...165, Springer Verlag 1983.
Abstract - - This paper presents electromagnetic HF (high frequency) techniques which permit the measurement of ocean surface currents from shore. The HF technique is based on the backscatter of CW (continuous wave) radio signals from a moving ocean surface. Ocean surface waves having wavelengths one half of the HF wavelength and, propagating towards or away from the radar, are responsible for backscattering. The Doppler shift, with respect to the transmitted signal, provides the actual phase velocity of the surface waves. Due to the known scattering mechanism, the phase velocity can also be determined theoretically. Deviations of the measured from the expected phase velocity are attributed to underlying currents. By this method, the radial component of the two-dimensional surface current can be determined. Although the mechanism was discovered by Crombie (1955), the development of measuring systems was not possible before recent advancements in computer techniques. Barrick et al. (1974); Stewart and Joy (1974) and Barrick et al. (1977) contributed the essential theoretical and experimental studies.
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