DopSCAT: A mission concept for simultaneous measurements of marine winds and surface currents

Type Article
Date 2015-12
Language English
Author(s) Fois Franco1, 2, Hoogeboom Peter1, Le Chevalier Francois3, Stoffelen Ad4, Mouche AlexisORCID5
Affiliation(s) 1 : Delft Univ Technol, Fac Civil Engn & Geosci, Dept Geosci & Remote Sensing, Delft, Netherlands.
2 : European Space Agcy ESA ESTEC, Noordwijk, Netherlands.
3 : Delft Univ Technol, Dept Microwave Sensing Signals & Syst, Fac Elect Engn Math & Comp Sci, Delft, Netherlands.
4 : Royal Netherlands Meteorol Inst, Act Remote Sensing Grp, Satellite R&D, NL-3730 AE De Bilt, Netherlands.
5 : Inst Francais Rech Exploitat Mer, Dept Informat Syst & Marine Data, Brest, France.
Source Journal Of Geophysical Research-oceans (0148-0227) (Amer Geophysical Union), 2015-12 , Vol. 120 , N. 12 , P. 7857-7879
DOI 10.1002/2015JC011011
WOS© Times Cited 15
Keyword(s) ocean surface currents, ocean Doppler signature, Doppler scatterometry
Abstract A radar scatterometer operates by transmitting a pulse of microwave energy toward the ocean's surface and measuring the normalized (per-unit-surface) radar backscatter coefficient (σ°). The primary application of scatterometry is the measurement of near-surface ocean winds. By combining σ° measurements from different azimuth angles, the 10 m vector wind can be determined through a Geophysical Model Function (GMF), which relates wind and backscatter. This paper proposes a mission concept for the measurement of both oceanic winds and surface currents, which makes full use of earlier C-band radar remote sensing experience. For the determination of ocean currents, in particular, the novel idea of using two chirps of opposite slope is introduced. The fundamental processing steps required to retrieve surface currents are given together with their associated accuracies. A detailed description of the mission proposal and comparisons between real and retrieved surface currents are presented. The proposed ocean Doppler scatterometer can be used to generate global surface ocean current maps with accuracies better than 0.2 m/s at a spatial resolution better than 25 km (i.e., 12.5 km spatial sampling) on a daily basis. These maps will allow gaining some insights on the upper ocean mesoscale dynamics. The work lies at a frontier, given that the present inability to measure ocean currents from space in a consistent and synoptic manner represents one of the greatest weaknesses in ocean remote sensing.
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