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Polarization rotation and the third Stokes parameter: the effects of spacecraft attitude and Faraday rotation

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2 Author(s)
T. Meissner ; Remote Sensing Syst., Santa Rosa, CA, USA ; F. J. Wentz

The third Stokes parameter of ocean surface brightness temperatures measured by the WindSat instrument is sensitive to the rotation angle between the polarization vectors at the ocean surface and the instrument. This rotation angle depends on the spacecraft attitude (roll, pitch, yaw) as well as the Faraday rotation of the electromagnetic radiation passing through the Earth's ionosphere. Analyzing the WindSat antenna temperatures, we find biases in the third Stokes parameter as function of the along-scan position of up to 1.5 K in all feedhorns. This points to a misspecification of the reported spacecraft attitude. A single attitude correction of -0.16° roll and 0.18° pitch for the whole instrument eliminates all the biases. We also study the effect of Faraday rotation at 10.7 GHz on the accuracy of the third Stokes parameter and the sea surface wind direction retrieval and demonstrate how this error can be corrected using values from the International Reference Ionosphere for the total electron content when computing Faraday rotation.

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IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing  (Volume:44 ,  Issue: 3 )