One- and Two-Dimensional Wind Speed Models for Ka-Band Altimetry

Academic Article


  • abstract SARAL—the Satellite with ARgos and ALtiKa—is the first satellite radar altimetry mission to fly a Ka-band instrument (AltiKa). Ocean backscatter measurements in the Ka band suffer larger signal attenuation due to water vapor and atmospheric liquid water than those from Ku-band altimeters. An attenuation algorithm is provided, based on radar propagation theory, which is a function of atmospheric pressure, temperature, water vapor, and liquid water content. Because of the nature of the air–sea interactions between wind and surface gravity waves, the shorter wavelength Ka-band backscatter exhibits a different relationship with wind speed than at Ku band, particularly at moderate to high wind speeds. This paper presents a new one-dimensional wind speed model, as a function of backscatter only, and a two-dimensional model, as a function of backscatter and significant wave height, tuned to AltiKa’s backscatter measurements. The performance of these new Ka-band altimeter wind speed models is assessed through validation with independent ocean buoy wind speeds. The results indicate wind measurement accuracy comparable to that observed at Ku band with only slightly elevated noise in the wind estimates.
  • Authors

  • Lillibridge, John
  • Scharroo, Remko
  • Abdalla, Saleh
  • Vandemark, Douglas
  • Status

    Publication Date

  • March 2014
  • Keywords

  • Algorithms
  • Altimetry
  • Satellite observations
  • Waves
  • Wind
  • oceanic
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Start Page

  • 630
  • End Page

  • 638
  • Volume

  • 31
  • Issue

  • 3