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Ocean Wave Integral Parameter Measurements Using Envisat ASAR Wave Mode Data

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3 Author(s)
Xiao-Ming Li ; German Aerosp. Center (DLR), Remote Sensing Technol. Inst., Wessling, Germany ; Lehner, S. ; Bruns, T.

An empirical algorithm to retrieve integral ocean wave parameters such as significant wave height (SWH), mean wave period, and wave height of waves with period larger than 12 s (H12) from synthetic aperture radar (SAR) images over sea surface is presented. The algorithm is an extension to the Envisat Advanced SAR (ASAR) wave mode data based on the CWAVE approach developed for ERS-2 SAR wave mode data and is thus called CWAVE_ENV (CWAVE for Envisat). Calibrated ASAR images are used as the only source of input without needing prior information from an ocean wave model (WAM) as the standard algorithms used in weather centers. This algorithm makes SAR an independent instrument measuring integrated wave parameters like SWH and mean wave period to altimeter quality. A global data set of 25 000 pairs of ASAR wave mode images and collocated reanalysis WAM results from the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) is used to tune CWAVE_ENV model coefficients. Validation conducted by comparing the retrieved SWH to in situ buoy measurements shows a scatter index of 0.24 and 0.16 when compared to the ECMWF reanalysis WAM. Two case studies are presented to evaluate the performance of the CWAVE_ENV algorithm for high sea state. A North Atlantic storm during which SWH is above 18 m as observed by SAR and Radar Altimeter simultaneously is analyzed. For an extreme swell case that occurred in the Indian Ocean, the potential of using SWH measurements from ASAR wave mode data derived by the CWAVE_ENV algorithm is demonstrated.

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Geoscience and Remote Sensing, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:49 ,  Issue: 1 )