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Wind Speed Estimation Using Polarimetric RADARSAT-2 Images: Finding the Best Polarization and Polarization Ratio

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6 Author(s)
Bergeron, T. ; Inst. Nat. de la Rech. Sci., Centre Eau, Terre et Environ., Univ. du Quebec, Quebec City, QC, Canada ; Bernier, Monique ; Chokmani, K. ; Lessard-Fontaine, A.
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As the number of operational wind scatterometers is getting smaller, other sources of spaceborne sensors are now included in global wind mapping. One of the prominent sensors is the Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR). Besides serving as a generic scatterometer, SAR systems are the only type of radar systems that can provide sub-km resolution sea surface wind data and offers near shore mapping capability. This unique feature is important for assessing the offshore wind resources. As an important source of renewable energy, offshore wind farms are growing rapidly. Furthermore, recent research shows that the cross-polarization radar backscatter does not seem to saturate in high winds, and provides an excellent supplement for scatterometer wind sensing in storm conditions. The saturation issues of co-polarization radar returns have so far made it difficult to resolve wind speeds beyond roughly 20 m/s, or even less for lower incidence angles. The scope of this paper is to show the potential of RADARSAT-2's polarimetric modes for wind speed retrieval. RADARSAT-2 is the first operational fully polarimetric (HH VV HV VH) C-band satellite. Standard Quad-pol images have been collected in the St. Lawrence Gulf and compared against the Mont-Louis buoy and QuikSCAT scatterometer data. Co-polarization wind speeds were computed with CMOD-5 algorithms. A few polarization ratios were tested to determine the most suitable one for RADARSAT-2's HH polarization mode. For Cross-polarization, two different models were compared. Cross-polarization gives excellent results when wind exceeds 5 m/s. In general, SAR wind retrieval is suitable for resolution of 400 m.

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Selected Topics in Applied Earth Observations and Remote Sensing, IEEE Journal of  (Volume:4 ,  Issue: 4 )