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Effects of foam on ocean surface microwave emission inferred from radiometric observations of reproducible breaking waves

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5 Author(s)
Padmanabhan, S. ; Microwave Syst. Lab., Colorado State Univ., Fort Collins, CO, USA ; Reising, S.C. ; Asher, W.E. ; Rose, L.A.
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WindSat, the first satellite polarimetric microwave radiometer, and the NPOESS Conical Microwave Imager/Sounder both have as a key objective the retrieval of the ocean surface wind vector from radiometric brightness temperatures. Available observations and models to date show that the wind direction signal is only 1-3 K peak-to-peak at 19 and 37 GHz, much smaller than the wind speed signal. In order to obtain sufficient accuracy for reliable wind direction retrieval, uncertainties in geophysical modeling of the sea surface emission on the order of 0.2 K need to be removed. The surface roughness spectrum has been addressed by many studies, but the azimuthal signature of the microwave emission from breaking waves and foam has not been adequately addressed. Recently, a number of experiments have been conducted to quantify the increase in sea surface microwave emission due to foam. Measurements from the Floating Instrumentation Platform indicated that the increase in ocean surface emission due to breaking waves may depend on the incidence and azimuth angles of observation. The need to quantify this dependence motivated systematic measurement of the microwave emission from reproducible breaking waves as a function of incidence and azimuth angles. A number of empirical parameterizations of whitecap coverage with wind speed were used to estimate the increase in brightness temperatures measured by a satellite microwave radiometer due to wave breaking in the field of view. These results provide the first empirically based parameterization with wind speed of the effect of breaking waves and foam on satellite brightness temperatures at 10.8, 19, and 37 GHz.

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