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Dual-polarized Ku-band backscatter signatures of hurricane ocean winds

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5 Author(s)
S. H. Yueh ; Jet Propulsion Lab., California Inst. of Technol., Pasadena, CA, USA ; R. West ; F. K. Li ; W. -Y. Tsai
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The Ku-band dual-polarized backscatter signatures of ocean surfaces are described in this paper with the airborne scatterometer measurements collected in the Hurricane Ocean Wind Experiment in September 1997. The data collected from flights over Hurricane Erika provide a direct evidence that there are wind direction signals in the vertically and horizontally polarized Ku-band backscatter of ocean surfaces under the influence of hurricane force winds. At 46° incidence angle, the vertically polarized backscatter acquired at the upwind direction increases by about 1 dB as the wind speed increases from 22 m·s-1 to 35 m·s-1, while the horizontally polarized backscatter appears to be twice as sensitive with a change of about 2 dB. At 35 m·s-1 wind speeds, the difference between upwind and crosswind observations of vertically polarized backscatter is about 1.5 dB, smaller than the 2 dB difference for the horizontally polarized backscatter. This demonstrates that the horizontal polarization has a greater sensitivity to wind speed and direction than the vertical polarization in the high wind regime. The data also suggest that the upwind and downwind asymmetry of Ku-band backscatter decreases with increasing wind speed and can fall below 0 dB at small incidence angles (<35°) for the vertical polarization. A combined interaction of the geometric optics scattering and the short wave modulation by long waves is proposed to interpret this phenomenon and appears to agree with the dependence of the signature on incidence, wind speed, and polarization. The aircraft flight data support the feasibility of dual-polarized Ku-band radar for hurricane ocean wind measurements, although the data do suggest a reduced wind speed and direction sensitivity in the high wind regime. Also, the differing polarization backscatter signatures-suggest the relative contributions of various surface scattering mechanisms. An improved Ku-band GMF is described

Published in:

IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing  (Volume:38 ,  Issue: 1 )