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Retrieving ocean surface wind speed from the TRMM Precipitation Radar measurements

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4 Author(s)
Li Li ; Jet Propulsion Lab., California Inst. of Technol., Pasadena, CA, USA ; E. Im ; L. N. Connor ; P. S. Chang

Spaceborne scatterometery has been used for many years now to retrieve the ocean surface wind field from normalized radar cross-section measurements of the ocean surface. Though designed specifically for the measurement of precipitation profiles in the atmosphere, the Precipitation Radar (PR) of the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) also acquires surface backscattering measurements of the global oceans. As such, this instrument provides an interesting opportunity to explore the benefits and pitfalls of alternative radar configurations in the satellite remote sensing of ocean winds. In this paper, a technique was developed for retrieving ocean surface winds using surface backscattering measurements from the TRMM PR. The wind retrieval algorithm developed for TRMM PR makes use of a maximum-likelihood estimation technique to compensate for the low backscattering associated with the PR configuration. The high vertical resolution of the PR serves to filter-out rain-contaminated cells normally integrated into Ku-band scatterometer measurements. The algorithm was validated through comparisons of ocean surface wind speeds derived from PR with remotely measured winds from TMI and QuikSCAT, as well as in situ observations from oceanographic buoys, revealing good agreements in wind speed estimations.

Published in:

IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing  (Volume:42 ,  Issue: 6 )