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Local variability of surface currents based on HF-Radar measurements

In: Sündermann, J. (Ed): Circulation and contaminant fluxes in the North Sea, Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg, New York, pp. 271...289, 1994.
Abstract - - Surface currents which transport oil and surface pollutants, whether shorewards or out to sea, depend on many factors. This include winds, tides, waves, the coastline contour and geophysical forces such as gravity and the Coriolis force. Thus, near-surface offshore currents will be highly variable from area to area and at different times. While the ultimate objective is to predict these currents as a function of the driving forces, their accurate measurement is the necessary first step in the development and testing of such a prediction model. In fact, when near-surface currents are known, it is theoretically possible to numerically calculate the currents and circulation all the way down to the ocean floor.

Yet these near-surface currents are the most difficult to measure. Nearly all available techniques are Lagrangian in nature, meaning that they measure the trajectory of a parcel of water near the surface, thus obtaining one more (current) streamlines vs. time. The method used in our case is a Eulerian one. It measures surface currents at points spaced approximately 3 km from each other in a rectangular grid.
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