Characterization of ocean surface current properties from single site HF/VHF radar

Marmain, Julien; Forget, Philippe; Molcard, Anne
November 2011
Ocean Dynamics;Nov2011, Vol. 61 Issue 11, p1967
Academic Journal
Surface current mapping from HF/VHF coastal radars traditionally requires at least two distant sites. Vector velocities are estimated by combining the radial velocity components measured by the radars. In many circumstances (e.g., failures, interferences, logistics constraints), such a combination is not possible by lack of data from one station. Two methods are evaluated to get information on surface circulation from a single site radar: the Vectorial Reconstruction Method (VRM) for current vector mapping and the Vortex Identification Method (VIM) for detecting eddy-like structures. The VRM assumes a non-divergent horizontal surface current, and the VIM analyzes radial velocities and their radial and orthoradial gradients. These two methods are tested on modeled and measured data sets in the Northwestern Mediterranean Sea where both high-resolution ocean circulation model and radar campaigns are available. The VRM performance is strongly limited by the divergence-free hypothesis which was not satisfied in our real data. The VIM succeeded in detection of vortex in the Gulf of Lions and from an operating single site radar located on the Provence coasts in summer.


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