The forecasting of marine weather, waves and tidal currents using models and in-situ measurements is vital for offshore operations and maintenance (O&M) in the marine infrastructure and marine renewable energy (MRE) sectors. Offshore O&M is limited by strict wave height thresholds at the offshore point of operations (typically 1.5m) and with the UK set to spend £2bn per annum by 2025 on O&M for the offshore wind industry alone the prediction of viable working windows for O&M is critical.
Existing wave and current monitoring and forecasting technologies rely on expensive in-situ measurements of the marine environment (e.g., floating wave buoys and devices on the sea bed) and models driven by these measurements or other large-scale simulations. Although very precise, traditional wave and current monitoring techniques have been found to be inadequate in terms of spatial coverage, timeliness and accuracy in complicated, high-energy coastal environments. These environments have previously proven to be difficult for wave and current observation and validation due to high equipment costs and risks of failure. As such there is a paucity of reliable, large-scale measurements of waves and currents in these dynamic marine environments.
Marine navigational ('X-band') radar is a mature technology for the remote sensing of the marine environment, capable of generating estimates of tidal current speed, ocean wave parameters and water depths over wide areas. However the current state-of-the-art in X-band radar oceanography has been found lacking in the high-energy, dynamic and complicated coastal environments that marine energy projects are operating. This project aims to develop a step-change in the way we process radar data to generate measurements of the marine environment, paving the way for a system that can produce the environmental information the marine industry requires.