Oceanographic applications of coastal radar

Type: Report
Series: RO 41
Author: Philip Axe


This report documents the 2010 Coastal Radar Workshop organised by the Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute with support from the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency. The aim of the report is to provide background information on coastal oceanographic radar for a wider professional audience and to provide a basis for further Nordic cooperation in the field of oceanographic (coastal) radar with the ultimate aim of establishing a Nordic network covering(initially) the shared waters of the Skagerrak and Kattegat. Information on currents in near real time is seldom available when needed by many day to day applications and services. Data are needed for safe and efficient ship routing in narrow areas of high traffic such as in the northern Kattegat, Danish Straits, Bornholm Strait and the Gulf of Finland. At the entrances of major ports and where [environmentally] dangerous cargos are carried current information can be of crucial importance. For this reason the Swedish Maritime Administration maintains current observations in critical areas. However, these are point measurements and in the waters mentioned above topography may alter currents both in strength and direction in nearby areas. Hence, complementary spatial information on the behaviour of currents is preferable. Access to high quality, spatially resolved current information is critical both for effective oil spill containment and greatly increases the chances for successful outcomes of search and rescue operations. Combining data from models and observations will reduce the search area in rescue operations and make planning and combat of oil spill operations more efficient. In addition, areal near real time current observations are likely to promote research and development related to fish larvae transports, the spread of alien species, improve oceanographic models and lead to the better understanding of ocean and coastal sea processes. The present workshop highlights and extends the knowledge base on European and US experiences, user needs and available technical systems for areal current observations. Taking into account that Nordic views are usually coherent, opportunities to coordinate and cooperate in establishing and running an operational pilot system at a Nordic level seem realistic. The workshop intends to lay the foundation for carrying this work further.