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Modeling of wind direction signals in polarimetric sea surface brightness temperatures

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1 Author(s)
S. H. Yueh ; Jet Propulsion Lab., California Inst. of Technol., Pasadena, CA, USA

There has been an increasing interest in the applications of polarimetric microwave radiometers for ocean wind remote sensing. Aircraft and spaceborne radiometers have found a few Kelvins wind direction signals in sea surface brightness temperatures, in addition to their sensitivities to wind speeds. However, it was not clear what physical scattering mechanisms produced the observed brightness dependence on wind direction. To this end, polarimetric microwave emissions from wind-generated sea surfaces are investigated with a polarimetric two-scale scattering model, which relates the directional wind-wave spectrum to passive microwave signatures of sea surfaces. Theoretical azimuthal modulations are found to agree well with experimental observations for all Stokes parameters from near nadir to 65° incidence angles. The upwind and downwind asymmetries of brightness temperatures were interpreted using the hydrodynamic modulation. The contributions of Bragg scattering by short waves, geometric optics scattering by long waves and sea foam are examined. The geometric optics scattering mechanism underestimates the directional signals in the first three Stokes parameters, and predicts no signals in the fourth Stokes parameter (V). In contrast, the Bragg scattering was found to dominate the wind direction signals from the two-scale model and correctly predicted the phase changes of the upwind and crosswind asymmetries in Tυ and U from middle to high incidence angles. The phase changes predicted by the Bragg scattering theory for radiometric emission from water ripples is corroborated by the numerical Monte Carlo simulation of rough surface scattering. This theoretical interpretation indicates the potential use of polarimetric brightness temperatures for retrieving the directional wave spectrum of short gravity and capillary waves

Published in:

IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing  (Volume:35 ,  Issue: 6 )