Near-surface current shear measured by marine X-band radar

Björn Lund, Hans C Graber, Jeffrey Campana, Eric Terrill

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

2 Scopus citations


This paper presents a new method to measure the near-surface currents' vertical shear by marine X-band radar (MR). The data used here were acquired from R/V Roger Revelle during the Impact of Typhoons on the Ocean in the Pacific (ITOP) field campaign in 2010. Existing techniques use MR surface wave signatures to retrieve a single near-surface current vector per analysis period. In essence, this is done by measuring the phase velocity of a wave on a current, which is then compared with the known still-water linear dispersion relationship. The resulting current corresponds to a depth-weighted average over the near-surface ocean layer. We introduce a new method that yields multiple estimates as a function of ocean wavenumber. The effective depth of the radar current measurement increases with the length of the ocean wave it was derived from. Our wavenumber-dependent near-surface currents thus provide information on vertical current shear. This method is analogous to an approach that has already proven successful for multi-frequency high-frequency (HF) radars. Here, we present first results which are put into the context of shipboard wind, surface wave, and background current measurements.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication2015 IEEE/OES 11th Current, Waves and Turbulence Measurement, CWTM 2015
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
ISBN (Print)9781479984190
StatePublished - Apr 29 2015
Event2015 11th IEEE/OES Current, Waves and Turbulence Measurement, CWTM 2015 - St. Petersburg, United States
Duration: Mar 2 2015Mar 6 2015


Other2015 11th IEEE/OES Current, Waves and Turbulence Measurement, CWTM 2015
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySt. Petersburg


  • current profiling
  • Marine radar
  • near-surface currents
  • signal analysis
  • surface waves
  • vertical shear

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography
  • Instrumentation


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