Observing directional properties of ocean swell with an Acoustic Doppler current profiler (ADCP)
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Acoustic Doppler current profilers (ADCPs) are widely used for routine measurements of ocean currents and waves in coastal environments. These instruments have the basic capability to measure surface wave frequency–directional spectra, but the quality of the estimates is not well understood because of the relatively high noise levels in the velocity measurements. In this study, wave data are evaluated from two 600-kHz ADCP instruments deployed at 20- and 45-m depths on the Southern California continental shelf. A simple parametric estimation technique is presented that provides robust estimates of the gross directional wave properties, even when the data quality is marginal, as was often the case in this benign wave environment. Good agreement of mean direction and (to a lesser degree) directional spreading estimates with measurements from a nearby surface-following buoy confirms that reliable wave information can generally be extracted from ADCP measurements on the continental shelf, supporting the instrument’s suitability for routine wave-monitoring applications.
Author Posting. © American Meteorological Society, 2010. This article is posted here by permission of American Meteorological Society for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology 27 (2010): 210-225, doi:10.1175/2009JTECHO681.1.
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