Oceans and seas

Australian Coastal Experiment

October 24, 2011, 5:57 am

The Australian Coastal Experiment (ACE) was an investigation whose primary goal was to identify continental shelf waves (CSW). It was carried out off the coast of New South Wales (eastern Australia) between Cape Howe and Newcastle from September 1983 to March 1984. The experiment included an array of current meters with three main lines with five moorings each, repeated CTD and XBT surveys, meteorological measurements from moored buoys and coastal stations, sea level measurements at coastal tide gauges, and bottom pressure measurements at a few sites. Each of the three mooring lines was arranged perpendicular to the local coastline, were nominally identical, and consisted of 15 Aanderaa current meters on five moorings. A free wave analysis of the data gathered demonstrated that waves passed through the experimental array and exhibited dispersion characteristics strongly indicative of coastal trapped waves. The measured pattern speed was between those predicted for free and forced waves. There was some predictive skill using a trapped wave model. Although the model predictions only accounted for a maximum of 40% of the observed variance, the best statistical predictor could only account for 50%. This led to the conclusion that not all of the energy in the weather forcing band was described by coastal trapped waves.

Further Reading:

  • Physical Oceanography Index
  • H. J. Freeland, F. M. Boland, J. A. Church, A. J. Clarke, A. M. G. Forbes, A. Huyer, R. L. Smith, R. O. R. Y. Thompson, and N. J. White. The Australian Coastal Experiment: A search for coastal–trapped waves. JPO, 16:1230–1249, 1986.
  • John A. Church and Howard J. Freeland. The energy source for coastal–trapped waves in the Australian Coastal Experiment region. JPO, 17:289–300, 1987.


This article is written at a definitional level only. Authors wishing to expand this entry are inivited to expand the present treatment, which additions will be peer reviewed prior to publication of any expansion.



Baum, S. (2011). Australian Coastal Experiment. Retrieved from http://www.eoearth.org/view/article/150320


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