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Short-wave measurements by a fixed tower-based and a drifting buoy system

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1 Author(s)
S. Stolte ; FWG, Kiel, Germany

The small-scale roughness of the sea surface acts as an important link in air-sea interaction processes. Radar and sonar waves are scattered by short surface waves providing the basis for remote sensing methods of the sea surface. At high wind speeds, breaking waves occur. Bubbles penetrate into the water and drastically increase acoustical reverberation, transmission loss and ambient noise. Thus, the development of short waves and wave breaking have to be known to apply radar remote sensing to the surface and to deduce from radar backscatter which sonar conditions prevail. To measure the wind dependence of short waves an experimental device was constructed for use from stationary platforms. It is nearly all-weather capable and can easily be handled by a crane. On the other hand, frequencies of short waves measured in a fixed position are extremely frequency shifted by currents. This limits the usefulness of tower-based measurements, e.g., the short wave modulation by wind and waves or currents can only be estimated in a rough approximation. Consequently, a buoy was developed to reduce the frequency shifts. The principle of the buoy is to drift in the local surface current and to follow the amplitudes of long waves. Therefore, short waves are measured in facets of long waves and the Doppler shifts are minimized. The wind is measured at a constant height above the long wave profile and relative to the moving facets. The paper describes the conventional measuring device and points out the necessity of the drifting buoy system. Examples of wind and wave spectra are presented and short wave modulations by long waves are depicted, too. From these measurements, new insights in short wave behaviour have to be expected

Published in:

IEEE Journal of Oceanic Engineering  (Volume:19 ,  Issue: 1 )