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A surface kinematics buoy (SKIB) for wave–current interaction studies

Abstract : Global navigation satellite systems (GNSSs) and modern motion-sensor packages allow the measurement of ocean surface waves with low-cost drifters. Drifting along or across current gradients provides unique measurements of wave–current interactions. In this study, we investigate the response of several combinations of GNSS receiver, motion-sensor package and hull design in order to define a prototype “surface kinematics buoy” (SKIB) that is particularly optimized for measuring wave–current interactions, including relatively short wave components that are important for air–sea interactions and remote-sensing applications. The comparison with existing Datawell Directional Waverider and Surface Wave Instrument Float with Tracking (SWIFT) buoys, as well as stereo-video imagery, demonstrates the performance of SKIB. The use of low-cost accelerometers and a spherical ribbed and skirted hull design provides acceptable heave spectra E(f) from 0.09 to 1 Hz with an acceleration noise level (2πf)4E(f) close to 0.023 m2 s−3. Velocity estimates from GNSS receivers yield a mean direction and directional spread. Using a low-power acquisition board allows autonomous deployments over several months with data transmitted by satellite. The capability to measure current-induced wave variations is illustrated with data acquired in a macro-tidal coastal environment.
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Pedro Veras Guimarães, Fabrice Ardhuin, Peter Sutherland, Mickaël Accensi, Michel Hamon, et al.. A surface kinematics buoy (SKIB) for wave–current interaction studies. Ocean Science, European Geosciences Union, 2018, 14 (6), pp.1449-1460. ⟨10.5194/os-14-1449-2018⟩. ⟨hal-01987412⟩

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