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Wind-Vector Retrievals Under Rain With Passive Satellite Microwave Radiometers

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2 Author(s)
Thomas Meissner ; Remote Sensing Syst., Santa Rosa, CA, USA ; Frank J. Wentz

We have developed algorithms that retrieve ocean-surface wind speed and direction under rain using brightness-temperature (TB) measurements from passive satellite microwave radiometers. For accurate radiometer retrievals of wind speeds in the rain, it is essential to use TB signals at different frequencies, whose spectral signature makes it possible to find channel combinations that are sufficiently sensitive to wind speed but little or not sensitive to rain. The wind-speed retrieval accuracy of an algorithm that utilizes C-band frequencies and is trained for tropical cyclones ranges from 2.0 m/s in light rain to 4.0 m/s in heavy rain. We have also trained and tested global algorithms that are less accurate in tropical storms but can be applied under all conditions. The wind-direction retrieval accuracy degrades from about 10deg in light rain to 30deg at the onset of heavy rain. We compare the performance of wind-vector retrievals under rain from microwave radiometers with those from scatterometers and discuss advantages and shortcomings of both instruments. We have also analyzed the wind-induced sea-surface emissivity, including its wind-direction dependence for wind speeds up to 45 m/s.

Published in:

IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing  (Volume:47 ,  Issue: 9 )