Field-wise wind estimation (also known as model-based wind estimation) is a sophisticated technique to derive wind estimates from radar backscatter measurements. In contrast to the more traditional method known as point-wise wind retrieval, field-wise techniques estimate wind field model parameters. In this way, neighboring wind vectors are jointly estimated, ensuring consistency. This work presents and implementation for field-wise wind retrieval for the SeaWinds scatterometer on the QuikSCAT satellite.

Due to its sophistication, field-wise wind retrieval adds computational complexity and intensity. The tradeoffs necessary for practical implementations are examined and quantified. The Levenberg-Marquardt algorithm for minimizing the field-wise objective function is presented. As the objective function has several near-global local minima, several wind fields represent ambiguous wind field estimates. A deterministic method is proposed to ensure sufficient ambiguities are obtained. An improved method for selecting between ambiguous wind field estimates is also proposed.

With a large set of Sea-Winds measurements and estimates available, the σ° measurement statistics are examined. The traditional noise model is evaluated for accuracy. A data-driven parameterization is proposed and shown to effectively estimate measurement bias and variance. The parameterized measurement model is used to generate Cramer-Rao bounds on estimator performance. Using the Cramer-Rao bound, field-wise and point-wise performances are compared.



College and Department

Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology; Electrical and Computer Engineering



Date Submitted


Document Type





scatterometry, ocean winds, SeaWinds, QuikSCAT, air-sea interaction, Cramer-Rao bound, wind retrieval