Wind-Wave induced velocity in ATI SAR Ocean Surface Currents: First experimental evidence from an airborne campaign

Martin, Adrien C.H.; Gommenginger, Christine ORCID:; Marquez, Jose; Doody, Sam; Navarro, Victor; Buck, Chris. 2016 Wind-Wave induced velocity in ATI SAR Ocean Surface Currents: First experimental evidence from an airborne campaign. Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, 121 (3). 1640-1653.

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Conventional and along-track interferometric (ATI) Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) sense the motion of the ocean surface by measuring the Doppler shift of reflected signals. Measurements are affected by a Wind-wave induced Artefact Surface Velocity (WASV) which was modelled theoretically in past studies and has been estimated empirically only once before with Envisat ASAR by Mouche et al., (2012). An airborne campaign in the tidally dominated Irish Sea served to evaluate this effect and the current retrieval capabilities of a dual-beam SAR interferometer known as Wavemill. A comprehensive collection of Wavemill airborne data acquired in a star pattern over a well-instrumented validation site made it possible for the first time to estimate the magnitude of the WASV, and its dependence on azimuth and incidence angle from data alone. In light wind (5.5 m/s) and moderate current (0.7 m/s) conditions, the wind-wave induced contribution to the measured ocean surface motion reaches up to 1.6 m/s upwind, with a well-defined 2nd order harmonic dependence on direction to the wind. The magnitude of the WASV is found to be larger at lower incidence angles. The airborne WASV results show excellent consistency with the empirical WASV estimated from Envisat ASAR. These results confirm that SAR and ATI surface velocity estimates are strongly affected by WASV and that the WASV can be well characterized with knowledge of the wind knowledge and of the geometry. These airborne results provide the first independent validation of Mouche et al., 2012, and confirm that the empirical model they propose provides the means to correct airborne and spaceborne SAR and ATI SAR data for WASV to obtain accurate ocean surface current measurements. After removing the WASV, the airborne Wavemill retrieved currents show very good agreement against ADCP measurements with a root mean square error (RMSE) typically around 0.1 m/s in velocity and 10° in direction.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
ISSN: 21699275
Additional Keywords: ocean surface current; microwave remote sensing; ATI SAR; Doppler; wind; airborne
Date made live: 19 Feb 2016 15:21 +0 (UTC)

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