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San Francisco Bay Surface Currents
Program: Coastal Ocean Currents Monitoring Program
Sensor: CODAR HF Radar
Primary Geophysical Parameter: Surface Current velocity
Nominal Accuracy: unknown
Spatial grid: 0.0048 degrees longitude by 0.0036 degrees latitude, geographic
Spatial coverage: San Francisco Bay, California
Temporal Coverage: May, 2006 - ongoing
CoastWatch distributes surface current velocity data for San Francisco Bay generated by a network of CODAR High Frequency (HF) radar stations. These currents are generated as part of the Coastal Ocean Currents Monitoring Program. Specifically, the San Francisco Bay currents are generated by the San Francisco State University's Romberg Tiburon Center for Environmental Studies (Professor Newell T. Garfield, Principal Investigator) as part of the Coastal Ocean Currents Monitoring Program, Northern California. Current data are valuable in addressing environmental emergencies such as oil spills or other pollution releases and other ocean-related issues such as search and rescue operations. This is an EXPERIMENTAL dataset, distributed for scientific evaluation.
Surface currents within the San Francisco Bay are measured using CODAR type high-frequency radar stations distributed around the perimeter of the bay. The source data are processed to surface current as in Paduan and Rosenfeld, 1996. HF radar transmits a pulse and measures the resulting Bragg scattering. A Bragg backscatter results only from waves of specific wavelength that are traveling along the direction of travel of the radar pulse. The theoretical wave speed is calculated from this backscattered wavelength and the deep water dispersion relation. The HF radar station also measures the Doppler shift of the backscatter signal and calculates wave speed from the Doppler shift. Surface current is the difference between theoretical wave speed calculated from wavelength and the deep water dispersion relation and wave speed calculated from the Doppler shift of the backscatter radar signal.
An important limitation of this measurement technique is that it only measures the radial current velocity, the component of surface current towards or away from the HF station. Measurements from more than one HF station are needed to generate the absolute current velocity at any one point within the bay. By combining measurements from multiple stations, the total velocity grid is generated for the bay.
To fill in gaps in current velocity measurements in the total velocity grid, a normal mode analysis technique is used (Lipphardt et al., 2000, see https://newark.cms.udel.edu/~brucel/nma/index.html), resulting in a complete objective mapping grid with fewer data gaps.
Despite our best efforts, incorrect data may often appear within near real time data sets. NOAA CoastWatch accepts no liability for use of these data products. It is recommended that these products NOT be used for navigation.
If this data is used for presentation or publication, please acknowledge San Francisco State University, and the Coastal Ocean Currents Monitoring Program.
References and suggested citations:
Lipphardt, B. L. Jr., A. D. Kirwan, Jr., C. E. Grosch, J. K. Lewis, J. D. Paduan. 2000. Blending HF radar and model velocities in Monterey Bay through normal mode analysis. J. Geophys. Res, vol. 105, pp. 3425-3450.
Paduan, J.D. and L.K. Rosenfeld. 1996. Remotely sensed surface currents in Monterey Bay from shore-based HF radar (CODAR), J. Geophys. Res., vol. 101, no. C9, pp. 20,669-20,686.