Achieving Accurate Altimetry across Storms: Improved Wind and Wave Estimates from C Band

Graham Quartly Remote Sensing Applications Development Unit, Southampton Oceanography Centre, Southampton, United Kingdom

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Abstract

Atmospheric liquid water, occurring both as cloud and rain, is known to severely affect the performance of normal Ku-band altimeters. Examination of a series of waveforms as Topex transits a major typhoon is used to illustrate the problem and indicate how height, significant wave height, and backscatter are all affected. This behavior is contrasted with that at C band, where distortion of the waveform is minor as that frequency is far less susceptible to atmospheric attenuation. Algorithms are given for the maintenance of accurate wind speed and wave height measurements across such storms.

Corresponding author address: Graham D. Quartly, RSADU, Southampton Oceanography Centre, Empress Dock, Southampton SO14 3ZH, United Kingdom.

Email: Graham.D.Quartly@soc.soton.ac.uk

Abstract

Atmospheric liquid water, occurring both as cloud and rain, is known to severely affect the performance of normal Ku-band altimeters. Examination of a series of waveforms as Topex transits a major typhoon is used to illustrate the problem and indicate how height, significant wave height, and backscatter are all affected. This behavior is contrasted with that at C band, where distortion of the waveform is minor as that frequency is far less susceptible to atmospheric attenuation. Algorithms are given for the maintenance of accurate wind speed and wave height measurements across such storms.

Corresponding author address: Graham D. Quartly, RSADU, Southampton Oceanography Centre, Empress Dock, Southampton SO14 3ZH, United Kingdom.

Email: Graham.D.Quartly@soc.soton.ac.uk

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