Airborne LiDAR Measurements of Sea Surface Properties in the German Bight


Sea surface measurements are mainly gathered using satellite altimeter, buoy, and platform measurements. Satellite measurements typically have a coarse spatial resolution and need recalibration in coastal regions, whereas point measurements of buoys only represent limited areas around the measurement point because of the complex coastal bathymetry. Wave models (WAM) are used to expand the sparse observations in space and time. As a part of the project WIndPArk far-field (WIPAFF), which focused on wakes behind offshore wind farms, extensive airborne light detection and ranging (LiDAR) measurements of ocean waves in the German Bight were performed for more than 90 h. The LiDAR data processed for significant wave height can be used to validate and improve WAM models for complex areas and fill the observation gap between satellite altimeter and point measurements. This creates a detailed picture of the sea surface for coastal engineering and environmental applications. After introducing the measurement techniques and the data situation, intercomparisons between the available airborne measurements, buoy data, and WAM model output are presented to provide an insight into the potential of airborne LiDAR measurements for wave characterization and wave model validation.
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