Using co-located space-borne satellite (TRMM PR, ESCAT on ERS 1/2) measurements, and numerical predicted wind fields (ECMWF), the sensitivity of C-band backscatter measurement to rain is evaluated. It is demonstrated that C-band radar backscatter can be significantly altered by rain surface perturbation, an effect that has been previously neglected. A low-order wind/rain backscatter model is developed that has inputs of surface rain rate, incidence angle, wind speed, wind direction, and azimuth angle. The wind/rain backscatter model is accurate enough for describing the total backscatter in raining areas with relatively low variance. Rain has a more significant impact on measurements at high incidence angles than at low incidence angles. Using three distinct regimes, the conditions for which wind, rain, and both wind and rain can be retrieved from scatterometer backscatter measurements are determined. The effects of rain on ESCAT wind-only retrieval are evaluated. The additional scattering from rain causes estimated wind speeds to be biased high and estimated wind directions to be biased toward the along-track direction in heavy rains. To compensate for rain-induced backscatter, we develop a simultaneous wind/rain retrieval method (SWRR), which simultaneously estimates wind and rain from ESCAT backscatter measurements with an incidence angle of over 40 degrees. The performance of SWRR under typical wind/rain conditions is evaluated through simulation and validation with collocated TRMM PR and ECMWF data sets. SWRR is shown to significantly improve wind velocity estimates and the SWRR-estimated rain rate has relatively high accuracy in moderate to heavy rain cases. RADARSAT-1 ScanSAR SWA images of Hurricane Katrina are used to retrieve surface wind vectors over the ocean. Collocated H*wind wind directions are used as the wind direction estimate and the wind speed is derived from SAR backscatter measurements by inversion of a C-band HH-polarization Geophysical Model Function (GMF) that is derived from the VV-polarization GMF, CMOD5, using a polarization ratio model. Because existing polarization models do not fit the ScanSAR SWA data well, a recalibration model is proposed to recalibrate the ScanSAR SWA images. Validated with collocated H*wind wind speed estimates, the mean difference between SAR-retrieved and H*wind speed is small and the root mean square (RMS) error is below 4 m/s. Rain effects on the ScanSAR measurements are analyzed for three different incidence angle ranges using collocated ground-based Doppler weather radar (NEXRAD) rain measurements. Compared with the scatterometer-derived model, the rain-induced backscatter observed by the ScanSAR at incidence angles 44 to 45.7 degrees is consistent with the scatterometer-derived model when the polarization difference between HH and VV polarizations is considered.



College and Department

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



Date Submitted


Document Type





scatterometer, wind retrieval, rain model, SAR, TRMM PR, ECMWF