A Multiyear Global Surface Wind Velocity Dataset Using SSM/I Wind Observations

R. Atlas
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R. N. Hoffman
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S. C. Bloom
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J. C. Jusem
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J. Ardizzone
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The Special Sensor Microwave Imagers (SSM/I) aboard three DMSP satellites have provided a large dataset of surface wind speeds over the global oceans from July 1987 to the present. These data are characterized by high resolution, coverage, and accuracy, but their application has been limited by the lack of directional information. In an effort to extend the applicability of these data, methodology has been developed to assign directions to the SSM/I wind speeds and to produce analyses using these data. Following extensive testing, this methodology has been used to generate a seven and one-half year dataset (from July 1987 through December 1994) of global SSM/I wind vectors. These data are currently being used in a variety of atmospheric and oceanic applications and are available to interested investigators. Recent results presented in this paper show the accuracy of the SSM/I wind velocities, the ability of these data to improve surface wind analyses, and the propagation of a synoptic-scale convergent vortex in the Tropics that can be tracked from year to year in annual mean SSM/I wind fields.

*Data Assimilation Office, Laboratory for Atmospheres, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland.

+Atmospheric and Environmental Research Inc., Cambridge, Massachusetts.

#General Sciences Corporation, Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Robert Atlas, Data Assimilation Office, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Laboratory for Atmospheres, Code 910.4, Greenbelt, MD 20771. E-mail: atlas@dao.gsfc.nasa.gov

The Special Sensor Microwave Imagers (SSM/I) aboard three DMSP satellites have provided a large dataset of surface wind speeds over the global oceans from July 1987 to the present. These data are characterized by high resolution, coverage, and accuracy, but their application has been limited by the lack of directional information. In an effort to extend the applicability of these data, methodology has been developed to assign directions to the SSM/I wind speeds and to produce analyses using these data. Following extensive testing, this methodology has been used to generate a seven and one-half year dataset (from July 1987 through December 1994) of global SSM/I wind vectors. These data are currently being used in a variety of atmospheric and oceanic applications and are available to interested investigators. Recent results presented in this paper show the accuracy of the SSM/I wind velocities, the ability of these data to improve surface wind analyses, and the propagation of a synoptic-scale convergent vortex in the Tropics that can be tracked from year to year in annual mean SSM/I wind fields.

*Data Assimilation Office, Laboratory for Atmospheres, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland.

+Atmospheric and Environmental Research Inc., Cambridge, Massachusetts.

#General Sciences Corporation, Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Robert Atlas, Data Assimilation Office, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Laboratory for Atmospheres, Code 910.4, Greenbelt, MD 20771. E-mail: atlas@dao.gsfc.nasa.gov
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