Southern California Regional Coastal Ocean Observing System: Surface Current Mapping (HFR) and Quality Control (QC)

Award Period
Award Amount
Agency Name
UC San Diego
Award Number
PI First Name
PI Last Name
MSI People
Area/s of Research

Task Title:  HF Radar Operations

Washburn’s research group will operate a network of HF radar systems designed to measure ocean surface currents and developed with funding from NOAA/IOOS. The surface current mapping network will aid in remotely sensed measurement of ocean surface currents for purposes of assessing and mitigating impacts of impaired water quality, tracking oil spills, assisting search and rescue efforts, and monitoring the physical environment for purposes of understanding ecosystem change.  The Southern California Coastal Ocean Observing System (SCCOOS) proposes to maintain and improve the network to ensure continued distribution of near real-time surface currents along the coast of Southern California. Funds obtained from this program will support continued operation and maintenance of HF Radar systems including supporting infrastructure. This Statement of Work is for the UCSB component of the SCCOOS HF radar system.

The systems are operated by Washburn’s research group at UCSB in collaboration with Ian Robbins and other HF radar technicians at the California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo (CalPoly). Washburn’s group will also collaborate with Dean Wendt and Ryan Walter of CalPoly in the operation of the radars. The systems are deployed from Nicholas Canyon in the south to Ragged Point in the north.

HF Radar Operations total: $300,800

Task Title:  HF Radar Quality Control

Brian Emery and Libe Washburn will continue development of software tools for monitoring the quality of IOOS HF radar data. Emery will be the principal programmer on the project and he will consult with Washburn and other members of Washburn’s research group during the project. The software tools will generate operational, real-time comparisons of time-series from overlapping HF radar sites in NOAA/IOOS Surface Current Mapping Network. These include comparisons along the baseline between two sites (baseline comparisons), and what we define as pseudo-radial comparisons: the use of two or more sites to generate radials to compare with measured radials from another site. Automated real-time comparisons will provide the metrics HF radar operators need to efficiently and objectively monitor the quality and consistency of HF radar radial data. We intend these metrics for use by regional associations, program managers and NOAA officials to assess network health and function.

An important objective is to develop a framework for objectively monitoring IOOS HF radar data quality. The proposed framework will also enable the assessment and validation of elliptical surface current components produced with multi-static software.

We will continue developing a MATLAB toolbox for:

(1) Automatically comparing baseline radial currents;

(2) Automatically comparing radials for a given site with radials components derived from other sites. We call this procedure pseudo-radial comparisons.

Development of the toolbox for automated calculation and visualization includes:

  • Determining sites with where over-water baselines and pseudo radials can be computed;
  • Determining the optimal comparison areas such as over a range of bearings or along portions of baselines;
  • Establishing time series of useful metrics (e.g., root-mean-square (RMS) differences,  and r2); 
  • Constructing useful visualizations of results for operators.

HF Radar Quality Control total: $86,000