Use of Spaceborne Synthetic Aperture Radar Imagery of the Sea Surface in Detecting the Presence and Structure of the Convective Marine Atmospheric Boundary Layer

View More View Less
  • 1 The Pennsylvania State University, University Park Pennsylvania
  • | 2 The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, Laurel, Maryland
  • | 3 Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, Massachusetts
© Get Permissions
Full access

Abstract

Two distinct backscatter regimes are seen on a European remote sensing satellite ERS-1 C-band (5.6 cm) synthetic aperture radar (SAR) image of the sea surface during a time of fair synoptic-scale weather conditions. One backscatter regime is mottled. In contrast to that, the second backscatter regime is marbled.

The authors hypothesize that the mottled backscatter pattern is a characteristic SAR backscatter pattern linked to the presence of the convective (i.e., statically unstable/convective-eddy containing) marine atmospheric boundary layer (CMABL) and can be used to help determine CMABL structure [convective-eddy type (cellular convection versus longitudinal rolls), eddy wavelength, and CMABL depth (via mixed-layer similarity theory for aspect ratio)]. The hypothesis linking the presence and structure of the CMABL to the mottled backscatter pattern on SAR imagery is validated by analyzing data from a number of sources gathered in the vicinity of the boundary between the mottled and marbled regimes on the SAR image.

Abstract

Two distinct backscatter regimes are seen on a European remote sensing satellite ERS-1 C-band (5.6 cm) synthetic aperture radar (SAR) image of the sea surface during a time of fair synoptic-scale weather conditions. One backscatter regime is mottled. In contrast to that, the second backscatter regime is marbled.

The authors hypothesize that the mottled backscatter pattern is a characteristic SAR backscatter pattern linked to the presence of the convective (i.e., statically unstable/convective-eddy containing) marine atmospheric boundary layer (CMABL) and can be used to help determine CMABL structure [convective-eddy type (cellular convection versus longitudinal rolls), eddy wavelength, and CMABL depth (via mixed-layer similarity theory for aspect ratio)]. The hypothesis linking the presence and structure of the CMABL to the mottled backscatter pattern on SAR imagery is validated by analyzing data from a number of sources gathered in the vicinity of the boundary between the mottled and marbled regimes on the SAR image.

Save