Calibration, validation, and analysis of an empirical algorithm for the retrieval of wave spectra from HF radar sea echo
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© 2016 American Meteorological Society. The accuracy of the wave products retrieved by a 12-MHz high-frequency (HF) phased-array radar is evaluated for a 5-month period. The two stations composing the system were deployed in 2011 to overlook the Wave Hub, a test site for marine renewable energy devices located on the southwestern coast of the United Kingdom. The system was conceived and configured to reduce the inaccuracies introduced by short time averaging and minimal overlap between stations, both associated with the most traditional HF radar deployments, whose primary activity is current measurement. Wave spectra were retrieved by an empirical algorithm distributed with Wellen Radars (WERA), which were calibrated using in situ measurements collected within the radar footprint. Evaluated through comparison against measurements acquired by three in situ devices, the results revealed estimates of significant wave height with nearly zero bias, linear correlations higher than 90%, and RMS errors that range from 29 to 44 cm. The relative error of wave energy period comparisons was within 10% for periods between 8 and 13 s, while both under- and overestimations were observed above and below that range, respectively. The validation demonstrated that when locally calibrated, the algorithm performs better than in its original form in all metrics considered. Observed discrepancies are mainly attributable to single-site estimations, antenna sidelobes, and the effect of the second-harmonic peaks of the Doppler spectrum.
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