On the Imaging of Rip Currents in X-band Radar Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/4j03d199k

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  • Rip currents pose a serious danger to visitors of bathing beaches; they are also an important process in surf zone circulation. Haller et al. [2014] demonstrated that shore-based X-band radar can be used to compliment in situ measurements of rip currents. However, little is known of the underlying radar imaging mechanics and the conditions under which they are observable. Herein, we analyze the expected radar backscatter characteristics of a rip current, which also contains a surf zone eddy, in order to assess their detectability by radar. The approach follows the method of Rascle et al. [2014] whereby the changes to the mean square slope (mss) of the water surface, calculated based on the surface current deformation tensor, are taken as directly related to radar backscatter intensity. The rip current and surf zone eddy were modeled using pre-existing idealized flow fields. The mss anomaly results show that the imaging mechanism of rip currents is dependent on both the surface current divergence and strain in the wind direction. The level of dependency on these two deformation tensor components varies in the rip current and surf zone eddy. The expected mss anomaly was then qualitatively compared to existing radar measurements from a field experiment and shown to have a similar brightness pattern and structure.
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