Land-based, high-frequency (HF) surface wave radar has the unique capability of monitoring coastal surface parameters, such as current, waves, and wind, up to 200 km off the coast. The Doppler spectrum of the backscattered radar signal is characterized by two strong peaks that are caused by the Bragg-resonant scattering from the ocean surface. The wavelength of Bragg resonant waves is exactly half the radio wavelength (grazing incidence), and these waves are located at the higher frequency part of the wave spectral distribution. When HF radar operates at higher frequencies, the resonant waves are relatively shorter waves, which are more sensitive to a change in wind direction, and they rapidly respond to local wind excitation and a change in wind direction. When the radar operates at lower frequencies, the corresponding resonant waves are relatively longer and take longer time to respond to a change in wind direction due to the progress of wave growth from short waves to long waves. For the wind inversion from HF radar backscatter signals, the accuracy of wind measurement is also relevant to radar frequency. In this paper, a pattern-fitting method for extracting wind direction by estimating the wave spreading parameter is presented, and a comparison of the pattern-fitting method and a conventional method is given as well, which concludes that the pattern-fitting method presents better results than the conventional method. In order to analyze the wind direction inversion from radar backscatter signals under different wind conditions and at different radar frequencies, two radar experiments accomplished in Norway and Italy are introduced, and the results of wind direction inversion are presented. In the two experiments, the radar worked at 27.68 MHz and 12 MHz, respectively, and the wind conditions at the sea surface were quite different. In the experiment in Norway, 67.4% of the wind records were higher than 5 m/s, while, in the experiment in Italy, only 18.9% of the wind records were higher than 5 m/s. All these factors affect the accuracy of wind direction inversion. The paper analyzes the radar data and draws a conclusion on the influencing factor of wind direction inversion.
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