The global high frequency radar network

Hugh Roarty, Tom Cook, Lisa Hazard, Jack Harlan, Simone Cosoli, Lucy Wyatt, Enrique Alvarez Fanjul, Eric Terrill, Mark Otero, John Largier, Scott Glenn, Naoto Ebuchi, Brian Whitehouse, Kevin Bartlett, Julien Mader, Anna Rubio, Lorenzo P. Corgnati, Carlo Mantovani, Annalisa Griffa, Emma ReyesPablo Lorente, Xavier Flores-Vidal, Peter Rogowski, Siriluk Prukpitikul, Sang Ho Lee, Jian Wu Lai, Charles Guerin, Jorge Sanchez, Birgit Hansen, Stephan Grilli, Kelly Saavedra Matta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

101 Scopus citations


Academic, government, and private organizations from around the globe have established High Frequency radar (hereinafter, HFR) networks at regional or national levels. Partnerships have been established to coordinate and collaborate on a single global HFR network ( ). These partnerships were established in 2012 as part of the Group on Earth Observations (GEO) to promote HFR technology and increase data sharing among operators and users. The main product of HFR networks are continuous maps of ocean surface currents within 200 km of the coast at high spatial (1-6 km) and temporal resolution (hourly or higher). Cutting-edge remote sensing technologies are becoming a standard component for ocean observing systems, contributing to the paradigm shift towards ocean monitoring. In 2017 the Global HFR Network was recognized by the Joint Technical WMO-IOC Commission for Oceanography and Marine Meteorology (JCOMM) as an observing network of the Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS). In this paper we will discuss the development of the network as well as establishing goals for the future. The U.S. High Frequency Radar Network (HFRNet) has been in operation for over thirteen years, with radar data being ingested from 31 organizations including measurements from Canada and Mexico. HFRNet currently holds a collection from over 150 radar installations totaling millions of records of surface ocean velocity measurements. During the past 10 years in Europe, HFR networks have been showing steady growth with over 60 stations currently deployed and many in the planning stage. In Asia and Oceania countries, more than 110 radar stations are in operation. HFR technology can be found in a wide range of applications: for marine safety, oil spill response, tsunami warning, pollution assessment, coastal zone management, tracking environmental change, numerical model simulation of 3-dimensional circulation, and research to generate new understanding of coastal ocean dynamics, depending mainly on each country's coastal sea characteristics. These radar networks are examples of national inter-agency and inter-institutional partnerships for improving oceanographic research and operations. As global partnerships grow, these collaborations and improved data sharing enhances our ability to respond to regional, national, and global environmental and management issues.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number164
JournalFrontiers in Marine Science
Issue numberMAR
StatePublished - 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oceanography
  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Aquatic Science
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Ocean Engineering


  • Coastal hazard
  • Currents and eddies
  • HF Radar current data
  • Ocean observation network
  • Remote sensing
  • Tsunami
  • Waves


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