High-Frequency radars

Brief History:

High-frequency radar technology (HF radars) is a unique technology mapping ocean surface currents and wave fields, along with other variables, over wide areas with high spatial and temporal resolution.

Taiwan Island was the first nation to have a radar network covering its entire coastline. Since then, about 400 radars were installed in 36 countries around the world.



These radars are fixed installations, based on land at shore. They have a long-term operational capability and are cost-effective requiring only small manpower and technical costs for maintenance due to weathering and wear. Their operation also depends on radio frequency allocation and cooperation.


Deployment location:

On the coastline.


Data collected:

This global operational system measures ocean surface currents, and thus acquires information on waves and wind. In more detail, HF radars measure:

  • Ocean circulation
  • Coastal processes
  • Contamination/pollution
  • Extreme events
  • Fronts and eddies
  • Quasi-inertial oscillations
  • Waves and surface winds
  • Upwelling
  • Etc.


Societal applications:

All these measurements provide essential local, regional and even global information about the ocean. Several direct applications are observed such as:

  • Weather and ocean forecasts
  • Climate projection (climate analysis and evolution)
  • Monitoring of harmful algal blooms
  • Monitoring pollutants
  • Environmental assessment and outlook
  • Research and rescue operations
  • Ship navigation and marine spatial planning
  • Ecosystem management
  • Etc.


If you want to learn more about this program, visit the website: http://global-hfradar.org/