To expand the scope of ocean wave observations, a shipboard coherent S-band wave radar system was developed recently. The radar directly measures the wave orbital velocity from the Doppler shift of the received radar signal. The sources of this Doppler shift are analyzed. After removing the Doppler shifts caused by the ocean current and platform, the radial velocities of water particles of the surface gravity waves are retrieved. Subsequently, the wavenumber spectrum can be obtained based on linear wave theory. Later, the significant wave height and wave periods (including mean wave period and peak wave period) can be calculated from the wavenumber spectrum. This radar provides a calibration-free way to measure wave parameters and is a novel underway coherent microwave wave radar. From 9 September to 11 September 2018, an experiment involving radar-derived and buoy-measured wave measurements was conducted in the South China Sea. The Doppler spectra obtained when the ship was in the state of navigation or mooring indicated that the quality of the radar echo was fairly good. The significant wave heights and wave periods measured using the radar are compared with those obtained from the wave buoy. The correlation coefficients of wave heights and mean wave periods between these two instruments both exceed 0.9 while the root mean square differences are respectively less than 0.15 m and 0.25 s, regardless of the state of motion of the ship. These results indicate that this radar has the capability to accurately measure ocean wave heights and wave periods.
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