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Spaceborne microwave scatterometers are currently used to determine ocean surface vector winds over the global ocean. The scatterometers currently in use employ two different wavelengths, C band for ESA's Advanced Scatterometer (ASCAT) instrument and Ku-band for both NASA's QuikSCAT instrument and the Indian Space research organization's OceanSAT-2 instrument (launched in September 2009). For differing reasons scatterometers of each frequency have difficulty retrieving wind in tropical and extratropical cyclones. Ku-band scatterometers are heavily impacted by rain. C-band scatterometers typically suffer due to resolution and measurement sensitivity issues. We propose a method to produce accurate hurricane-force wind retrievals using QuikSCAT, ASCAT, and OceanSAT-II data. The proposed method employs a technique that has already been utilized to improve the accuracy of QuikSCAT wind vectors from 10-50 knots in the presence of rain, to estimate gale-force wind speeds with ASCAT data, and to enable accurate hurricane-force wind retrievals for a proposed future mission that employs a dual frequency (C- and Ku-band) scatterometer. We propose to improve this technique so that it can be used to retrieve accurate wind speeds in tropical and extratropical cyclones from existing spaceborne scatterometer data. Retrieving accurate hurricane-force winds from QuikSCAT data is important because it can be used to produce a ten year record of tropical and extratropical cyclone winds that can be used for a variety of research purposes. Reliable estimates of hurricane ocean surface winds will be very valuable for better understanding of the air-sea interaction that provides the storm’s energy. Furthermore, obtaining good measurements of hurricane winds will help evaluate and improve hurricane forecasting models. This will help increase the accuracy of hurricane intensity forecasts, an outstanding problem of significant importance as identified by the multiagency Hurricane Forecasting Improvement Project (HFIP). Winds retrieved from ASCAT or OceanSAT-II data can be used similarly. Because of the advanced age of the QuikSCAT instrument, winds from these newer scatterometers will be needed operationally when QuikSCAT data is no longer available. Revealing the winds under the rain will help operational forecasters by giving them a better tool for early detection of tropical cyclogenesis and reliable estimates of hurricane intensity and size that are needed for improved prediction of storm surges and flooding after landfall. The work is proposed to be conducted as Fundamental Research.

Project PI: Bryan Stiles/Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Jet Propulsion Laboratory M/S 300-319 4800 Oak Grove Drive Pasadena, CA 91109

Phone: (818) 354-4321



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Started: Sep 29, 2010

Last Activity: Mar 16, 2011


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