Coastal currents play an important role in the distribution of heat, nutrients, larval dispersal, pollution transport and sediment redistribution. Until recently there was very little spatial data of Australian coastal currents, with direct measurements generally from single point moorings or ocean arrays. High-Frequency Ocean Radar systems are used to map surface currents at the mesoscale (generally an area of 150 Km x 150 Km), providing a valuable tool in monitoring coastal currents.
Ocean Radar works by transmitting high-frequency radar signals out to sea from shore-based antennae which are scattered by the rough sea surface. A portion of the radar is backscattered, and Doppler shifted by the motion of the waves or wind and tidal movement. The radar receivers measure the Doppler spectrum and calculate current and wave information within the range of the radar system.
The Ocean Radar facility currently uses two types of High-Frequency ocean radar: the phased array beam-forming technology (WERA), and the direction-finding technology (SeaSonde).
Ocean Radar installations are currently located at Coffs Harbour (NSW), Newcastle (NSW), the Rottnest Shelf (WA), Coral Coast, (WA), Turquoise Coast (WA), South Australia Gulf (SA), Bonney Coast (SA), Capricorn Bunker (QLD)
Dr Simone Cosoli
P: +61 (08) 6488 7314
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Australia’s Integrated Marine Observing System (IMOS) is enabled by the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS). It is operated by a consortium of institutions as an unincorporated joint venture, with the University of Tasmania as Lead Agent.