The Capricorn Bunker Group site is in the southern region of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park World Heritage Area (GBR). The HF ocean radar coverage is from the coast to beyond the edge of the continental shelf. This is an area where the East Australian Current (EAC) meanders as it moves south from the Swain Reefs and loses touch with the western land boundary. The area is dynamic with warm EAC water recirculating and being wind-driven northwards along the coast inside the GBR lagoon. The recirculating warm water contrasts with the upwelling tendency of the parts of the EAC which continue to move southwards. The CBG radar is ideally placed to follow filaments of different water types and to investigate their impacts on coral reefs and fisheries.
Applications of the CBG radar data are in the frequency and location of regional upwelling that fuels productivity, and in the connectivity between reefs and islands. At the central point of the CBG area of coverage is the Heron Island Research Station which hosts many coral reef and ecology research programs. The data will also be useful for validation of the operational Bluelink model, and the embedded higher resolution Whole-of-Reef model.
The CBG HF ocean radar is a WERA phased array system with 12-element receive arrays located at Tannum Sands (-23.942 S, 151.371 E) and Lady Elliot Island (-24.111 S, 152.713 E). These radars operate at a frequency of 8.348 MHz, with a bandwidth of 33 KHz and a maximum range of 200 Km. Within the HF radar coverage area surface currents are measured. Data are also collected from which wind directions and significant wave height can be calculated.
The capital funding for this system was provided originally as an ARC LEIF Grant, assisted by contributions from James Cook University, The University of Queensland, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Australian Institute of Marine Science.
This site was decommissioned in April 2017.