For a number of decades, coastal HF radar has been used to remotely measure ocean surface parameters, including waves, at distances exceeding 100 km. The information, which has value in many ocean engineering applications, is obtained using the HF radar cross-section, which relates the directional ocean spectrum to the received radar signal, through a nonlinear integral equation. The equation is impossible to solve analytically, for the ocean spectrum, and a number of numerical methods are currently used. In this study, a neural network is trained to infer the directional ocean spectrum from HF radar Doppler spectra. The neural network is trained and tested on simulated radar data and then validated with data collected off the coast of Cornwall, where there are two HF radars and a wave buoy to provide the sea-truth. Key ocean parameters are derived from the estimated directional spectra and then compared with the values measured by both the wave buoy and an existing inversion method. The results are encouraging; for example, the RMSE of the obtained mean wave direction decreases from 20.6° to 15.7°. The positive results show that neural networks may be a viable solution in certain situations, where existing methods struggle.
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