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Ku-band ocean radar backscatter observations during SWADEWe present results obtained by an airborne Ku-band scatterometer during the Surface Wave Dynamics Experiment (SWADE). The specific objective of this study is to improve our understanding of the relationship between ocean radar backscatter and near surface winds. The airborne scatterometer, NUSCAT, was flown on the NASA Ames C-130 over an instrumented oceanic area near 37 deg N and 74 deg W. A total of 10 flights from 27 Feb. to 9 Mar. 1991 were conducted. Radar backscatter at incidence angles of 0 to 60 deg were obtained. For each incidence angle, the NUSCAT antenna was azimuthally scanned in multiple complete circles to measure the azimuthal backscatter modulations. Both horizontal and vertical polarization backscatter measurements were made. In some of the flights, the cross-polarization backscatter was measured as well. Internal calibrations were carried out throughout each of the flights. Preliminary results indicate that the radar was stable to +/-0.3 dB for each flight. In this paper, we present studies of the backscatter measurements over several crossings of the Gulf Stream. In these crossings, large air-sea temperature differences were encountered and substantial changes in the radar cross section were observed. We summarize the observations and compare them to the changes of several wind variables across the Gulf Stream boundary. In one of the flights, the apparent wind near the cold side of the Gulf Stream was very low (less than 3 m/s). The behavior of the radar cross sections at such low wind speeds and a comparison with models are presented. A case study of the effects of swell on the absolute cross section and the azimuthal modulation pattern is presented. Significant wave heights larger than m were observed during SWADE. The experimentally observed effects of the swell on the radar backscatter are discussed. The effects are used to assess the uncertainties in wind retrieval due to underlying waves. A summary of azimuthal modulation from our ten-flight of NUSCAT data is given. Wind velocities, air and sea surface temperature, ocean spectrum, and other variables measured from aircraft and buoys are also shown.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Nghiem, S. V.
(Jet Propulsion Lab., California Inst. of Tech. Pasadena, CA, United States)
Li, F. K.
(Jet Propulsion Lab., California Inst. of Tech. Pasadena, CA, United States)
Lou, S. H.
(Jet Propulsion Lab., California Inst. of Tech. Pasadena, CA, United States)
Neumann, G.
(Jet Propulsion Lab., California Inst. of Tech. Pasadena, CA, United States)
Date Acquired
September 6, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 1993
Publication Information
Publication: gress In Electromagnetics Research Symposium (PIERS)
Subject Category
Earth Resources And Remote Sensing
Accession Number
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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