World-class current and wave research with MERIKA

Academic institutions in Europe invest in marine renewable energy by establishing a world-class current and wave measurement capability with MERIKA at the University of Highlands and Islands.

Researchers at the University of Highlands and Islands (UHI) campus in Stornoway, UK have been making waves in technical and expertise advancement through the Marine Energy Research Innovation and Knowledge Accelerator (MERIKA) project, funded in 2014.  

At the cutting edge of current and wave research
Managed by senior research engineer Arne Vogler and his team at Lews Castle College UHI, the MERIKA project will provide investment in the equipment, personnel and infrastructure hosted at several UHI sites across Scotland and will develop a research exchange program with seven European institutions to help the university remain at the cutting edge of marine renewable research. Already, members of the MERIKA team have collaborated with leading marine energy researchers at the Technical University of Hamburg Harburg and the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim. 

Measuring waves, currents and turbulence 
With the goal of being a world-class marine energy research center, the MERIKA team approached Nortek to learn about innovations in wave, current and turbulence measurements - both acoustic subsea and terrestrial radar-based measurements. Analyzing the measurement requirements and analysis goals, Nortek was able to offer a full suite of instruments that would allow the researchers to achieve their challenging goals. The Nortek instruments provided to the MERIKA program include:

Improved wave measurements for better spatial coverage 
The equipment was shipped to MERIKA during the summer of 2015. Nortek staff travelled to Stornoway and Thurso to commission the SeaDarQ wave radar systems and train staff on their operation. Following training, the MERIKA team deployed the SeaDarQ wave radar system at Tiumpan Head and the Sound of Taransay. Coordinated with the radar, a Nortek Signature500 was deployed in 35 m (Tiumpan Head) and a Datawell Waverider buoy was deployed in 30 m (Sound of Taransay). The goal of this research was to begin to validate and calibrate the wave radar system with the Signature ADCP and Waverider buoy. Ultimately, improved wave measurements from the radar systems may be used for better spatial coverage of waves at future research and prospective marine energy sites.

The Nortek Signature500 AD2CP prepared for deployment to measure currents and waves.

Current profile data from Signature500 AD2CP deployed in 35 m water depth.

Directional wave data from Signature500 AD2CP deployed in 35 m water depth.
Full directional spectrum from Signature500 showing incident wave energy from 50 degrees and reflected wave energy from 250 degrees.

Brilliant double rainbows shine over the Nortek SeaDarQ wave radar system during commissioning.

High-resolution wave field as measured by Nortek SeaDarQ wave radar system.
Non-directional energy spectra comparison between SeaDarQ wave radar and Waverider buoy.



Instruments in use


  • ACOUSTIC WAVE AND CURRENT PROFILER

    AWAC - 1 MHz

    Real-time current profiles and directional waves for shallow water
  • ACOUSTIC WAVE AND CURRENT PROFILER

    AWAC - 600 kHz

    Real-time current profiles and directional waves for intermediate water
  • CURRENT PROFILER

    Signature500

    Mean currents and turbulence, plus wave height, direction and ice tracking
  • CURRENT PROFILER

    Signature1000

    High-performance mean currents and turbulence, wave height and direction
  • CURRENT PROFILER

    Aquadopp Profiler 400 kHz

    Up to 90 m current profiling range; ideal for mean current measurements
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