Project outline

The Brahan Project

The Brahan Project aims to showcase the unique features, benefits and utility that SeaSonde HF Radar monitoring and added value applications can provide to the UK ocean community and UK society at large.

Marine Scotland Science ( is leading this Project where BP Exploration Operating Company Limited (, The UK-IMON (, The UK Department of Energy and Climate Change (, The Met Office (, Nexen Petroleum UK Ltd (, The International Centre for Island Technology (, QUALITAS Remos ( and CODAR Ocean Sensors ( are also partners.



The main project deliverable is a fully operational Long Range SeaSonde HF radar system in the Shetland-Orkney area in Northern Scotland manufactured by CODAR Ocean Sensors of California, which measures the speed and direction of ocean surface currents in near real time in an hourly basis and also provides information about wave parameters. These radars can measure currents over a large region of the coastal ocean, from a few kilometres offshore up to 200 km, and can operate under any weather conditions. Other existing oceanographic monitoring systems are insufficient to provide the resolution of surface current speeds and directions which are required today by scientists and operational responders.

In the Brahan Project, we are looking out from the vantage points of the lighthouses at North Ronaldsay on Orkney, to the south of the Fair Isle gap, and at Sumburgh on Shetland, to the north of the Fair Isle gap. Although the SeaSonde HF radar is an operational system within many Ocean Observing Systems in the world, the Brahan project is the first demonstration of the system in the UK. We will monitor the tidal and residual surface currents in two 180 km radius arcs either side of the Fair Isle gap for 6 months. During this period, in situ observations will be made using a range of technologies including bottom mounted ADCPs, low-cost drifters and gliders.

The demonstration of the SeaSonde technology targets not only scientific research, but also search and rescue, pollution control, the offshore oil and gas sector, the renewable energy sector and additional end users such as the fishing industry.