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Speed ambiguity in hurricane wind retrieval from SAR imagery

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Under strong ocean surface wind conditions, the normalized radar cross section of synthetic aperture radar (SAR) is dampened at certain incident angles, compared with the signals under moderate winds. This causes a wind speed ambiguity problem in wind speed retrievals from SAR, because two solutions may exist for each backscattered signal. This study shows that the problem is ubiquitous in the images acquired by operational space-borne SAR sensors. Moreover, the problem is more severe for the near range and range travelling winds. To remove this ambiguity, a method was developed based on characteristics of the hurricane wind structure. A SAR image of Hurricane Rita (2005) was analysed to demonstrate the wind speed ambiguity problem and the method to improve the wind speed retrievals. Our conclusions suggest that a speed ambiguity removal algorithm must be used for wind retrievals from SAR in intense storms and hurricanes.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Institute of Oceanology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Qingdao, PR China,Key Laboratory of Ocean Circulation and Waves (KLOCAW), Chinese Academy of Sciences, Qingdao 266071, PR China 2: Institute of Oceanology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Qingdao, PR China 3: Maritimes Region, Fisheries & Oceans Canada, Bedford Institute of Oceanography, Dartmouth, Canada

Publication date: 2009-01-01

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