In the eye of the storm

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  • 1 NOAA Physical Sciences Laboratory, Boulder, CO
  • 2 ProSensing Inc., Amherst, MA
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Abstract

The airborne NOAA Wide Swath Radar Altimeter (WSRA) is a 16 GHz digital beamforming radar altimeter that produces a topographic map of the waves as the aircraft advances. The wave topography is transformed by a two-dimensional FFT into directional wave spectra. The WSRA operates unattended on the aircraft and provides continuous real-time reporting of several data products: (1) significant wave height, (2) directional ocean wave spectra, (3) the wave height, wavelength, and direction of propagation of the primary and secondary wave fields, (4) rainfall rate and (5) sea surface mean square slope (mss). During hurricane flights the data products are transmitted in real-time from the NOAA WP-3D aircraft through a satellite data link to a ground station and on to the National Hurricane Center (NHC) for use by the forecasters for intensity projections and incorporation in hurricane wave models. The WSRA is the only instrument that can quickly provide high-density measurements of the complex wave topography over a large area surrounding the eye of the storm.

Corresponding author: Edward J. Walsh, edward.walsh@noaa.gov

Abstract

The airborne NOAA Wide Swath Radar Altimeter (WSRA) is a 16 GHz digital beamforming radar altimeter that produces a topographic map of the waves as the aircraft advances. The wave topography is transformed by a two-dimensional FFT into directional wave spectra. The WSRA operates unattended on the aircraft and provides continuous real-time reporting of several data products: (1) significant wave height, (2) directional ocean wave spectra, (3) the wave height, wavelength, and direction of propagation of the primary and secondary wave fields, (4) rainfall rate and (5) sea surface mean square slope (mss). During hurricane flights the data products are transmitted in real-time from the NOAA WP-3D aircraft through a satellite data link to a ground station and on to the National Hurricane Center (NHC) for use by the forecasters for intensity projections and incorporation in hurricane wave models. The WSRA is the only instrument that can quickly provide high-density measurements of the complex wave topography over a large area surrounding the eye of the storm.

Corresponding author: Edward J. Walsh, edward.walsh@noaa.gov
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