Satellite Wind Observations

Wind speed and direction Ocean surface wind speed and direction have been traditionally measured by instruments on buoys and ships. Although these can provide continuous data (excellent temporal coverage), they can only provide it for their specific location (limited spatial coverage). On the other hand, microwave sensors aboard satellites can provide coverage for large areas but just a few observations during the day. Also, since satellite sensors operate at microwave frequencies, they can measure surface winds during nighttime and cloudy conditions. Both active (radar) and passive (radiometer) microwave sensors have been shown capable of determining the ocean surface wind speed, with active microwave instruments being used to derive the wind direction. Recently, radiometer systems have been shown capable of determining the wind direction using polarimetric and multi-look observations. Development and refinement of instrumentation and algorithms for ocean surface wind retrieval is an ongoing process being conducted in both the active and passive areas. The following map display the ocean surface winds from today's satellite imagery.

Click here for mobile version of satellite winds.


Note: The QuikSCAT's satellite wind readings have gone off-line due to satellite failure. More details available at NASA's JP Lab website.

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