It is a common feature among remote sensing technologies that very considerable progress can be made with relatively simple physical and mathematical models. This is often fortuitous, as without getting ‘runs on the board’ at an early stage, support for further development may evaporate and consign a technology to the graveyard of good-in-principle ideas. But, having survived to puberty, it is equally common for progress to slow or even stall because the detail and fidelity of measurements fail to meet the rising expectations of the users. At this point there is no option but to identify the factors that are limiting performance and to develop techniques to mitigate them. Typically the research problems which arise at this point demand a marriage, or even a ménage-a-trois, between the disciplines of physics, engineering and mathematics. In the case of HF radar in its oceanographic roles, several topics within the realm of applied mathematics are of special interest at present, and it so happens that these are strongly represented in the research activities of the Department of Applied Mathematics at UNSW, specifically in the areas of (i) fluid dynamics, oceanic and atmospheric sciences, (ii) nonlinear phenomena, (iii) inverse problems, (iv) optimisation, and (v) computational mathematics. In this talk I shall illustrate the application of these branches of mathematics to the problems currently of concern to the HF radar community.
About the speaker: Stuart J. Anderson received the B.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees in physics from the University of Western Australia. In 1974, he was invited to join the team being assembled in the Australian Defence Science and Technology Organization to develop the Jindalee over-the-horizon radar system where he assumed responsibility for ocean surveillance and remote sensing. He has worked as a visiting scientist at government laboratories in several countries and moonlights as invited visiting professor at the Université Paris VI and University College London. Stuart holds or has held adjunct professor appointments at several Australian universities, including the University of Adelaide (Physics), Curtin University (Applied Physics) and the University of New South Wales (Applied Mathematics), and is a professor at the Université Rennes I, France, which, in 2005, awarded him an honorary doctorate for his contributions to radar science. He was the recipient of the 1992 Australian Minister of Defence Science Award for Research Achievement. His active research interests span ionospheric physics, radiowave propagation, radar oceanography, signal processing, electromagnetic scattering, passive coherent location, and microwave polarimetry. He has published over 300 journal papers, conference papers, book chapters, and reports in these fields and is the author of the chapter on OTH radar in the authoritative Radar Handbook.