Ocean Wind Fields Retrieved from the Advanced Synthetic Aperture Radar Aboard ENVISAT


In this paper an algorithm is presented which enables high-resolution ocean surface wind fields to be retrieved from the advanced synthetic aperture radar (ASAR) data acquired by the European remote sensing satellite ENVISAT. Wind directions are extracted from wind-induced streaks that are visible in ASAR images at scales above 200 m and that are approximately in line with the mean surface wind direction. Wind speeds are derived from the normalized radar cross section (NRCS) and image geometry of the calibrated ASAR images, together with the local ASAR-retrieved wind direction. Therefore the empirical C-band model CMOD4, which describes the dependency of the NRCS on wind and image geometry, is used. CMOD4 is a semi-empirical model, which was originally developed for the scatterometer of the European remote sensing satellites ERS-1 and 2 operating at C-band with vertical polarization. Consequently, CMOD4 requires modification when applied to ASAR images that were acquired with horizontal polarization in transmitting and receiving. This is performed by considering the polarization ratio of the NRCS. To demonstrate the applicability of the algorithm, wind fields were computed from several ENVISAT ASAR images of the North Sea and compared to atmospheric model results of the German weather service.
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