HF Radar

FY 2022 | 1 – Understand | 22-10-04

HF Radar

Seth Danielson, University of Alaska Fairbanks
Contract Term: January 31, 2022-September 30, 2022
Award: $19,552

The Prince William Sound Science Center Oil Spill Recovery Institute (OSRI) is performing a
Cook Inlet model skill assessment and would like to integrate existing ocean current
measurements in the region. Observed currents will improve modeling accuracy and thus support
the OSRI mission of improving oil spill response and mitigation capabilities.
The University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences (CFOS) has
High-Frequency (HF) Radar surface current data previously collected in Cook Inlet that will be
compiled, checked for quality, and uploaded to the project data server.

Objectives/Goals
The goal of this statement of work is to aid the Cook Inlet skill assessment project by funding the
compilation, evaluation, and delivery of surface current measurement data that were collected
during Cook Inlet HF Radar deployments from 2002 through 2009.
Methods
HF Radar systems measure surface currents from the coastline by processing the Doppler
spectrum from transmitted radar waves backscattered by ocean waves (Barrick et al., 1985). A
spectral file of the backscatter contains the Bragg shift, which increases with faster currents. The
collected backscattered spectra will be subjected to visual inspection to ensure the optimal
processing parameters were used and then, if needed, reprocessed to obtain the most accurate
current measurements. Utilizing the spectra, 13 MHz systems produce hourly two-dimensional
vectors at ~1 km spatial resolution that represent the upper ~1 m of the water column. The
coverage area varies with radar siting, sea state, ionospheric interference, and sea ice cover.
Timeline and Products
UAF CFOS has HF Radar data that was collected in Cook Inlet for US BOEM research studies
near Kenai, Alaska, in the area of Kalgin Island in 2002-2003 (Figure 1; Musgrave and
Statscewich, 2006) and in Lower Cook Inlet in 2006-2007 (Figure 2; Potter and Weingartner,
2009). There was also a deployment of HFR sites in 2009, funded by Cook Inlet Regional
Citizens Advisory Council and the Alaska Ocean Observing System, covering the Kalgin Island
vicinity in response to a volcanic eruption that created lahars that threatened the Drift River Oil
Terminal.
All available data will be compiled, checked for quality, and uploaded to the Research
Workspace Cook Inlet Model Skill Assessment campaign by September 30. 2022