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Characterizing Observed Environmental Variability With HF Doppler Radar Surface Current Mappers and Acoustic Doppler Current Profilers: Environmental Variability in the Coastal Ocean

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3 Author(s)
Kohut, J.T. ; Coastal Ocean Obs. Lab., State Univ. of New Jersey, Brunswick, NJ ; Roarty, H.J. ; Glenn, S.M.

A network of high-frequency (HF) radars is deployed along the New Jersey coast providing synoptic current maps across the entire shelf. These data serve a variety of user groups from scientific research to Coast Guard search and rescue. In addition, model forecasts have been shown to improve with surface current assimilation. In all applications, there is a need for better definitions and assessment of the measurement uncertainty. During a summer coastal predictive skill experiment in 2001, an array of in situ current profilers was deployed near two HF radar sites, one long-range and one standard-range system. Comparison statistics were calculated between different vertical bins on the same current profiler, between different current profilers, and between the current profilers and the different HF radars. The velocity difference in the vertical and horizontal directions were then characterized using the observed root-mean-square (rms) differences. We further focused on two cases, one with relatively high vertical variability, and the second with relatively low vertical variability. Observed differences between the top bin of the current profiler and the HF radar were influenced by both system accuracy and the environment. Using the in situ current profilers, the environmental variability over scales based on the HF radar sampling was quantified. HF radar comparisons with the current profilers were on the same order as the observed environmental difference over the same scales, indicating that the environment has a significant influence on the observed differences. Velocity variability in the vertical and horizontal directions both contribute to these differences. When the potential effects of the vertical variability could be minimized, the remaining difference between the current profiler and the HF radar was similar to the measured horizontal velocity difference (~2.5 cm/s) and below the resolution of the raw radial data at the time of the deployment

Published in:

Oceanic Engineering, IEEE Journal of  (Volume:31 ,  Issue: 4 )