Near-Shore Wave Measurement with High-Frequency Radar (158)

Al Cope, National Weather Service Forecast Office, Mount Holly, New Jersey

Hugh Roarty, Rutgers University Center for Ocean Observing Leadership




Forecasts and observations of ocean wave characteristics (significant wave height, direction and period) are an essential part of the National Weather Service (NWS) marine program at coastal forecast offices. Compared to observations over land however, observations over coastal waters and bays are very limited, consisting mainly of a few widely spaced buoy platforms, along with occasional ship reports.

Therefore, in collaboration with Rutgers University, and as part of the NOAA Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS) Ocean Technology Transition Project, the NWS Forecast Office at Mount Holly, NJ, is conducting an evaluation of near-shore ocean wave heights as derived from High Frequency Radar (HFR) echoes. Wave measurements from several HFR sites along the NJ shore are made available to the NWS Mount Holly Forecast Office in near real-time via a Rutgers web site. The main goal of the evaluation is to determine the value of this data for NWS marine forecast operations. This can be done by having forecasters view the data in real time as they prepare new marine forecasts, and also in &ldquohind-cast&rdquo mode by comparing HFR wave data during recent coastal storms with archived data from buoys located a few miles off the NJ and DE coasts. This evaluation began in late 2017 and will continue through at least the spring of 2018.

The conference presentation will show examples of HFR wave measurements compared to buoy observations, particularly for coastal storms during the winter and spring of 2018, along with some general conclusions about the accuracy and operational utility of the HFR data.