The ASCAT scatterometer measures the Earth surface microwave radar backscatter in order to estimate the near-surface winds over the oceans. While the spatial resolution of the conventional applications is sufficient for many purposes, other geoscience applications benefit from an improved spatial resolution. Specialized algorithms may be applied to the scatterometer data in order to reconstruct the radar backscatter on a high-resolution grid. Image reconstruction requires the spatial response function (SRF) of each measurement, which is not reported with the measurement data. To address this need, I precisely model the SRF incorporating (1) the antenna beam response, (2) the processing performed onboard ASCAT before telemetering to the ground, and (3) the Doppler shift induced by a satellite orbiting the rotating Earth. I also develop a simple parameterized model of the SRF to reduce computational complexity. The accuracy of both models is validated.Image reconstruction of the ASCAT data is performed using the modeled SRF. I discuss the spatial resolution of the reconstructed ASCAT images and consider the first- and second-order statistics of the reconstructed data. Optimum values for the parameters of the reconstruction algorithms are also considered. The reconstructed radar backscatter data may be used for enhanced-resolution wind retrieval and for geoscience applications. In this dissertation, the reconstructed backscatter data is used to map the surface extent of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill and in a study to quantify the azimuth angle anisotropy of backscatter in East Antarctica. Near-coastal ocean wind retrieval is also explored in this dissertation. Because near-coastal ocean measurements of backscatter may be “contaminated” from nearby land and introduce errors to wind retrieval, they must be discarded. The modeled SRF is used to quantify the land contamination, enabling enhanced-resolution wind retrieval much closer to the coasts. The near-coastal winds are validated against buoy measurements.



College and Department

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



Date Submitted


Document Type





ASCAT, scatterometer, spatial response function, wind retrieval, image reconstruction