LETI: The Sea Surface Monitoring Methods Developed at LETI Will Allow to Effectively Solve the Problems of Operational Oceanology

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Today, due to the increase in sea cargo traffic and projects of oil and gas companies on the sea shelf, the issues of safety in offshore areas are becoming increasingly important. Operational monitoring of wind and wave conditions in sea areas difficult for navigation is necessary for shipping safety provision. Onshore economic activity is also significantly affected by hydrodynamic processes taking place in shallow water areas and causing constant soil displacement and erosion of the seabed, which leads to changes in its relief and, accordingly, in the depth map.

The research team consisting of young scientists from the Research Institute of Forecasting and Monitoring Systems “Prognoz” and the Department of Radio Engineering Systems of LETI has proposed a new technology that will help perform radar monitoring of the sea surface, adjust navigation maps, and plan dredging in the fairways in real-time.

Remote monitoring technology is based on the use of spectral and fluctuational characteristics of radar signals scattered by the sea surface. The first results of the study are published in the Remote Sensing journal.

“Developed radar methods allow hydrographic monitoring of the sea surface (waves, surface currents) as well as carrying out bathymetric measurements in shallow water areas remotely, covering an area with a radius up to 1-1.5 km. This helps considerably reduce the time and cost of work in comparison with the measurement technologies applied today. In its turn, it makes it possible to correct information after floods, strong storms, ice drift, and other natural phenomena, which have a determining influence on short-term bottom erosion”.

Vladimir Veremyev, Director of the Prognoz Research Institute at LETI

The team aims to develop and refine complex physical and mathematical models of interaction of coherent electromagnetic waves of centimeter range with the water surface, taking into account nonlinear effects. They plan to develop algorithms for remote measurement of hydrographic and bathymetric parameters using signals of centimeter range and create software that implements these algorithms. By 2024, the scientists are planning to make and test the prototype of a coherent radar complex for high-precision measurements of hydrographic characteristics, providing the assessment of sea waves, surface currents, and bathymetric data.

At this stage, scientists conducted experiments at the testing ground of the Shirshov Institute of Oceanology of the Russian Academy of Sciences in the Blue Bay of Gelendzhik. They obtained records of signals from the sea surface at different radar locations, different sounding azimuths under different sea surface and meteorological conditions. In the future, this will allow testing algorithms of radar signal processing for obtaining hydrographic information on the sea surface.

The results of the research can be of interest both for the state services engaged in the maintenance of shipping routes, prevention and elimination of consequences of emergencies, and for high-risk facilities: ports, oil terminals, and oil and gas platforms. Also, the results of the project will help fundamental science in oceanographic, meteorological, and navigational purposes and the development of methods and algorithms for processing data in geoinformation systems.

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