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Polarimetric scatterometry: a promising technique for improving ocean surface wind measurements from space

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6 Author(s)
Wu-Yang Tsai ; Jet Propulsion Lab., California Inst. of Technol., Pasadena, CA, USA ; Nghiem, S.V. ; Huddleston, J.N. ; Spencer, M.W.
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Spaceborne wind scatterometers provide useful measurements of ocean surface winds and are important to climatological studies and operational weather forecasting. Past and currently planned scatterometers use measurements of the copolarized backscatter cross-section at different azimuth angles to infer ocean surface wind speed and direction. Although successful, current scatterometer designs have limitations such as degraded wind performance in the near-nadir and outer regions of the measurement swath and a reliance on external wind information for vector ambiguity removal. Theoretical studies of scattering from the wind-induced ocean surface indicate that polarimetric measurements provide orthogonal and complementary directional information to aid the wind retrieval process. In this paper, potential benefits of making polarimetric backscatter measurements to improve wind retrieval performance are addressed. To investigate the performance of a polarimetric scatterometer, a modified version of the SeaWinds end-to-end simulator at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), Pasadena, CA, is employed. To model the effect of realistic measurement errors, expressions for polarimetric measurement variance and bias are derived. It is shown that a polarimetric scatterometer can be realized with straightforward and inexpensive modifications to a current scanning pencil-beam scatterometer system such as SeaWinds. Simulation results show that such a system ran improve wind performance in the nadir region and eliminate the reliance on external wind information

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Geoscience and Remote Sensing, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:38 ,  Issue: 4 )