Obukhov Length Estimation From Spaceborne Radars

Two air‐sea interaction quantification methods are employed on synthetic aperture radar (SAR) scenes containing atmospheric‐turbulence signatures. Quantification performance is assessed on Obukhov length L, an atmospheric surface‐layer stability metric. The first method correlates spectral energy at specific turbulence‐spectrum wavelengths directly to L. Improved results are obtained from the second method, which relies on a machine‐learning algorithm trained on a wider array of SAR‐derived parameters. When applied on scenes containing convective signatures, the second method is able to predict approximately 80% of observed variance with respect to validation. Estimated wind speed provides the bulk of predictive power while parameters related to the kilometer‐scale distribution of spectral energy contribute to a significant reduction in prediction errors, enabling the methodology to be applied on a scene‐by‐scene basis. Differences between these physically based estimates and parameterized numerical models may guide the latter's improvement.


Obukhov length, surface-layer stability, SAR, machine learning, regression

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O’driscoll Owen, Mouche Alexis, Chapron Bertrand, Kleinherenbrink Marcel, López‐dekker Paco (2023). Obukhov Length Estimation From Spaceborne Radars. Geophysical Research Letters. 50 (15), https://doi.org/10.1029/2023GL104228, https://archimer.ifremer.fr/doc/00850/96224/

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