Application of Parabolic Equation Methods to HF Propagation in an Arctic Environment


  1. Thomson, A.D.
  2. Quach, T.D.
Corporate Authors
Defence R&D Canada - Ottawa, Ottawa ONT (CAN)
This paper demonstrates the usefulness and flexibility of parabolic equation methods when applied to high frequency (HF) propagation calculations over cliffs and in realistic arctic environments, which are required for estimating the performance of High Frequency Surface Wave Radar (HFSWR). All calculations are performed using a modified version of the TERPEM (TERrain Parabolic Equation Model) software package. This software has been tested extensively through comparisons with other models. As an example, a comparison between data generated with TERPEM and data published in the literature is shown. Calculations performed for four cliff heights (0, 102, 300, 498 m) show that the cliff does not significantly affect the propagation of HFSWR signals at the ranges of interest. Site-specific calculations performed for realistic arctic conditions (cold, low-salinity water covered with broken sea ice and snow) show that HFSWR propagation can be equal to or better than that for ice-free conditions over a significant range for a significant portion of the year (~3 or 4 months). Based on these results, and other considerations related to sea clutter, ionospheric clutter, and man-made noise, it is concluded that useful operation of HFSWR at specific sites in the arctic should be feasible for a significant portion of the year.
HFSWR (High Frequency Surface Wave Radar)
Report Number
DRDC-OTTAWA-SL-2004-043 — Scientific Literature
Date of publication
01 Jan 2005
Number of Pages
Reprinted from
IEEE Transactions of Antennas and Propagation, vol 53, no 1, 2005, p 412-419
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