New radar satellite technique to measure the speed of the moving ocean surface

Posted on Feb 2, 2008 By : Mizake Laziaf

Ocean surface currents have long been the focus of research due to the role they play in weather, climate and transportation of pollutants, yet essential aspects of these currents remain unknown.
By employing a new technique based on the same principle as police speed-measuring radar guns to satellite radar data, scientists can now obtain information necessary to understand better the strength and variability of surface current regimes and their relevance for climate change.


Scientists at the SeaSAR 2008 workshop held this week in ESRIN, ESA's European Centre for Earth Observation in Frascati, Italy, demonstrated how this new method on data from the Advanced Synthetic Aperture Radar (ASAR) instrument aboard ESA's Envisat, enabled measurements of the speed of the moving ocean surface.


Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) instruments, such as ASAR, record microwave radar backscatter in order to identify roughness patterns, which are linked to varying surface winds, waves and currents of the ocean surface. However, interpreting radar images to identify and quantify surface currents had proven very difficult.


By using the new information embedded in the radar signal the Doppler shift of the electromagnetic waves reflected from the water surface Dr Bertrand Chapron of the French Research Institute for Exploitation of the Sea (IFREMER), Dr Johnny Johannessen of Norway's Nansen Environmental and Remote Sensing Centre (NERSC) and Dr Fabrice Collard of France's BOOST Technologies were able to determine how surface winds and currents contribute to the Doppler shift.

 

Source : Esa Int via GIS Development

 

 

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