We have examined the L-band radiometer and radar data from NASA’s Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) mission for ocean research and applications. We find that the SMAP data are in excellent agreement with the geophysical model function (GMF) derived from the Aquarius data up to a wind speed of 20 ms-1. For severe wind conditions, the higher resolution data from SMAP allowed us to assess the sensitivity of L-band radiometer signals to hurricane force winds. We applied the L-band GMF to the retrieval of ocean surface wind and SSS from the SMAP data. Comparison with the European Center for Medium-Range Weather Forecasting, WindSat and RapidSCAT wind speeds suggests that SMAP’s radiometer wind speed reaches an excellent accuracy of about 1.1-1.7 ms-1 below a wind speed of 20 ms-1. We have also found that the maximum wind speed derived from the SMAP radiometer data can reach 140 knots for severe storms and are generally in good agreement with the hurricane track analysis and operational aircraft Stepped Frequency Microwave Radiometer wind speeds. The spatial patterns of the SMAP SSS agree well with climatological distributions, but exhibit several unique spatial and temporal features.
Simon Yueh, Alexander Fore, Wenqing Tang, Akiko Hayashi, Bryan Stiles, Fuqing Zhang, Yonghui Weng, and Nicolas Real, "Applications of SMAP data to retrieval of ocean surface wind and salinity," Proc. SPIE 9999, Remote Sensing of the Ocean, Sea Ice, Coastal Waters, and Large Water Regions 2016, 99990F (Presented at SPIE Remote Sensing: September 26, 2016; Published: 19 October 2016); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2240710.
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