A new Lagrangian-based short-term prediction methodology for high-frequency (HF) radar currents

Lohitzune Solabarrieta, Ismael Hernández-Carrasco, Anna Rubio, Michael F Campbell, Ganix Esnaola, Julien Mader, Burton Jones, Alejandro Orfila

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Abstract. The use of high-frequency radar (HFR) data is increasing worldwide for different applications in the field of operational oceanography and data assimilation, as it provides real-time coastal surface currents at high temporal and spatial resolution. In this work, a Lagrangian-based, empirical, real-time, short-term prediction (L-STP) system is presented in order to provide short-term forecasts of up to 48 h of ocean currents. The method is based on finding historical analogs of Lagrangian trajectories obtained from HFR surface currents. Then, assuming that the present state will follow the same temporal evolution as the historical analog, we perform the forecast. The method is applied to two HFR systems covering two areas with different dynamical characteristics: the southeast Bay of Biscay and the central Red Sea. A comparison of the L-STP methodology with predictions based on persistence and reference fields is performed in order to quantify the error introduced by this approach. Furthermore, a sensitivity analysis has been conducted to determine the limit of applicability of the methodology regarding the temporal horizon of Lagrangian prediction. A real-time skill score has been developed using the results of this analysis, which allows for the identification of periods when the short-term prediction performance is more likely to be low, and persistence can be used as a better predictor for the future currents.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)755-768
Number of pages14
JournalOcean Science
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 4 2021


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