An analytical algorithm with a wave age factor for altimeter wind speed

Yongcun Cheng, Qing Xu, Yuguang Liu, Hui Lin, Peng Xiu, Xiaobin Yin, Haibo Zong, Zengrui Rong

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Based on the specular reflection theory of electromagnetic waves at rough sea surface and the wind wave spectrum model with a wave age factor, the sea surface wind speeds are retrieved from the normalized radar backscatter cross-section (NRCS) measured by TOPEX/Poseidon (T/P) Ku-band altimeter using the mean square slope (MSS) calculated from the spectrum models of the wind waves and the gravity-capillary waves. A relationship between wave age and non-dimensional wave height is applied to compute the wave age factor using the significant wave height (SWH) and wind speeds obtained from buoy or altimeter simultaneously. The study indicates that the wave age factor has a significant impact on the retrieval of altimeter wind speed. Compared with the operational algorithm for retrieving altimeter wind speed, the wind speed retrieved from the new analytical algorithm based on the wind wave spectrum model with the wave age factor, proposed in this study, can match the buoy measurements better. The effects of the wave age factor on altimeter wind speed retrieval are also shown quantitatively through a series of experiments and measurements. The comparison with the operational algorithm indicates that both the bias and root mean square error (RMSE) between wind speeds retrieved by the proposed analytical algorithm and those observed by the buoy decrease significantly. In the Gulf of Mexico, with the new analytical algorithm, more accurate altimeter wind speeds are retrieved.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Remote Sensing
Issue number19
Pages (from-to)5699-5716
Publication statusPublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes

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