The coastal zone hosts a great number of activities that require knowledge of the spatial characteristics of the wave field, which in coastal seas can be highly heterogeneous. Information of this type can be obtained from HF radars, which offer attractive performance characteristics in terms of temporal and spatial resolution. This paper presents the validation of radar-derived fields of directional wave spectra. These were retrieved from measurements collected with an HF radar system specifically deployed for wave measurement, using an established inversion algorithm. Overall, the algorithm reported accurate estimates of directional spectra, whose main distinctive characteristic was that the spectral energy was typically spread over a slightly broader range of frequencies and directions than in their in situ-measured counterparts. Two errors commonly reported in previous studies, namely the overestimation of wave heights and noise related to short measurement periods, were not observed in our results. The maximum wave height recorded by two in situ devices differed by 30 cm on average from the radar-measured values, and with the exception of the wave spreading, the standard deviations of the radar wave parameters were between 3% and 20% of those obtained with the in situ datasets, indicating the two were similarly grouped around their means. At present, the main drawback of the method is the high quality signal required to perform the inversion. This is in part responsible for a reduced data return, which did not exceed 55% at any grid cell over the eight-month period studied here.



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Journal of Marine Science and Engineering





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School of Biological and Marine Sciences