Other wave sensing radar systems typically utilize a standard marine radar and process the power backscatter to estimate wave spectrum properties. This technique requires wind speeds of >6 knots, has degraded accuracy for wave periods of greater than 13 seconds, and has to be frequently calibrated due to the signal power’s direct relation to ocean surface roughness.
FutureWaves not only measures the backscattered power of the radar signal off of the surface waves, it also measures the Doppler shift of the returned radar signal. This allows the radar to directly extract the orbital velocities of the waves, enabling the system to directly observe detailed wave-field properties without needing to make any assumptions about how power-backscatter relates to wave height, slope, and surface roughness.
What does this unique wave measurement technique allow for that other systems cannot provide?
- Self-calibration over virtually all ocean conditions
- Wave period measurements of up to 28 seconds
- High directional accuracy
- Accurate wave sensing at wind speeds as low as 2 knots
- Operation on a moving platform (25+ knots [developing techniques to operate at even higher speeds for Navy applications])
- Advanced wave timing
For more information on the Doppler processing, see How it Works