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Validation of HF radar sea surface currents in the Malta-Sicily Channel

  • Autori: Capodici, F.; Cosoli, S.; Ciraolo, G.; Nasello, C.; Maltese, A.; Poulain, P.; Drago, A.; Azzopardi, J.; Gauci, A.
  • Anno di pubblicazione: 2019
  • Tipologia: Articolo in rivista (Articolo in rivista)
  • Parole Chiave: Current meter measurements; Data quality; Drifter measurements; HF radar; Surface currents; Soil Science; Geology; Computers in Earth Sciences
  • OA Link:


A network of High-Frequency radar (HFR) stations runs operationally in the Malta-Sicily Channel (MSC), Central Mediterranean Sea, providing sea surface current maps with high temporal (1 h) and spatial (3 × 3 km) resolutions since August 2012. Comparisons with surface drifter data and near-surface Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler (ADCP) observations, as well as radar site-to-site baseline analyses, provide quantitative assessments of HFR velocities accuracy. Twenty-two drifters were deployed within the HFR domain of coverage between December 2012 and October 2013. Additionally, six ADCP vertical current profiles were collected at selected positions during a dedicated field survey. External radio-frequency interferences lead to significant gaps in the HFR coverage, which were minimized by an interpolation technique applied to the surface current fields. The validation of HFR velocities was first performed for each individual station in the network, using data generated with both the ideal and the measured antenna patterns. The validation was then repeated with pairs of HFR stations using the site-to-site baseline error analysis. The analysis confirms that the baseline error estimations and the full validation metrics for this HFR frequency band are consistent, and in some aspects superior, when compared to results from similar studies in other regions. The validation with drifter tracks suggests that the adopted interpolation procedure does not in general impact on the comparison metrics, but may introduce biases when used to extrapolate currents in regions where radar geometrical constraints are suboptimal. The analysis of the percentage of contribution of individual HFR stations shown that the quality of HFR data is influenced by the network geometry.