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Airborne scatterometers: investigating ocean backscatter under low and high-wind conditions

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9 Author(s)
J. R. Carswell ; Microwave Remote Sensing Lab., Massachusetts Univ., Amherst, MA, USA ; S. C. Carson ; R. E. McIntosh ; F. K. Li
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Attempting to understand and predict weather on a local and global basis has challenged both the scientific and engineering communities. One key parameter in understanding the weather is the ocean surface wind vector because of its role in the energy exchange at the air-sea surface. scatterometers, radars that measure the reflectivity of a target offer a tool with which to remotely monitor these winds from tower-, aircraft-, and satellite-based platforms. This paper introduces three current airborne scatterometer systems, and presents data collected by these instruments under low-, moderate-, and high-wind conditions. The paper focuses on airborne scatterometers because of their ability to resolve submesoscale variations in wind fields. Discrepancies between existing theory and the observations are noted and the concerns in measuring low-wind speeds discussed. Finally, the application of using this technology for estimating the surface-wind vector during a hurricane is demonstrated

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Proceedings of the IEEE  (Volume:82 ,  Issue: 12 )