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Observations of wind and ocean wave fields using ERS Synthetic Aperture Radar imagery

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The aim of the research reported here is to evaluate Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) capability to estimate the wind vector and associated directional wave spectrum. Two ERS-2 SAR images of the Mediterranean Sea, one over the Sicily Channel and one over the Ligurian Sea, were selected as case studies. Wind speed was estimated using SAR calibrated backscatter response, in conjunction with empirically derived ERS scatterometer models such as CMOD4 and CMOD-IFREMER. The predictions of these models were then compared with the actual sea surface wave spectra either provided by in situ measurements or resulting from the inversion of the SAR image spectrum. SAR-detected effects of both wind and wave features, induced either by atmospheric boundary layer instability or by land shadowing, were also used as reliable indicators of wind direction.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, Istituto di Studi Sui Sistemi Intelligenti per L'Automazione Via Amendola 166/5 70126 Bari Italy 2: Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche Istituto di Scienze dell'Atmosfera e del Clima via Gobetti 101 40129 Bologna Italy

Publication date: 2004-04-01

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