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2-D Inner-Shelf Current Observations from a Single VHF WEllen RAdar (WERA) Station

CWTM 2011 Conference on Current Measurement Technology, Monterey, CA, USA, Proceedings, March 2011.

Abstract - - The majority of High Frequency (HF) radars used worldwide operate at medium to high frequencies (8 to 30 MHz) providing spatial resolutions ranging from 3 to 1.5 km and ranges from 150 to 50 km. This paper presents results from the deployment of a single Very High Frequency (VHF, 48 MHz) WEllen RAdar (WERA) radar with spatial resolution of 150 m and range 10-15 km, used in the nearshore off Cape Hatteras, NC, USA. It consisted of a linear array of 12 antennas operating in beam forming mode. Radial velocities were estimated from radar backscatter for a variety of wind and nearshore wave conditions. A methodology similar to that used for converting acoustically derived beam velocities to an orthogonal system is presented for obtaining 2-D current fields from a single station. The accuracy of the VHF radar-derived radial velocities is examined using a new statistical technique that evaluates the system over the range of measured velocities. The VHF radar velocities showed a bias of 3 to 7 cm/s over the experimental period explainable by the differences in radar penetration and in situ measurement height. The 2-D current field shows good agreement with the in situ measurements. Deviations and inaccuracies are well explained by the geometric dilution analysis.
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