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STAR's Ocean Surface Winds Team
Begins Winter Storms Flight Experiment over the North Atlantic

ASCAT Follow-on prototype antenna integrated with the IWRAP instrument on the NOAA P-3 (Kermit)

ASCAT Follow-on prototype antenna integrated with the IWRAP instrument on the NOAA P-3 (Kermit)

January 20, 2015 - The NESDIS Ocean Winds winter flight experiment started on January 12 and will run through February 14. Personnel from STAR and NOAA's Aircraft Operations Center deployed on the NOAA WP-3D N42RF (Kermit) aircraft to Halifax, Nova Scotia. Over the next month, flights will be conducted over the North Atlantic and Labrador Sea. The P-3 carries advanced remote-sensing equipment including the Imaging Wind and Rain Profiler (IWRAP) developed and built by the Microwave Remote Sensing Laboratory at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. IWRAP is a C-band and Ku-band dual- polarized (vertical and horizontal polarization) profiling scatterometer system designed to measure the backscattered signal from precipitation and the ocean surface.

Suleiman Alsweiss and Joseph Sapp working on the IWRAP instrumentation on the NOAA P-3

Suleiman Alsweiss and Joseph Sapp working on the IWRAP instrumentation on the NOAA P-3

There are several objectives for this experiment including validation of existing on-orbit satellite sensors ASCAT (EUMETSAT) and RapidScat (NASA), advancing the knowledge of the remote-sensing physics of the ocean surface, and testing and evaluating new remote-sensing techniques and instrumentation. Satellite ocean surface vector wind data such as those provided from the ASCAT and RapidScat instruments provide critical information utilized by the National Weather Service's Ocean Prediction Center and National Hurricane Center to support wind and wave forecasting in the marine environment.

During this winter's experiment, NOAA and the European Space Agency collaborated to install on the NOAA P-3 a prototype antenna developed for the ASCAT follow-on scatterometer (SCA) planned for the EUMETSAT Polar System Second Generation (EPS-SG). One of the improvements being considered by ESA and EUMETSAT for the ASCAT follow-on instrument is to include a cross-polarized receive capability to extend the high wind speed sensitivity of SCA beyond that of ASCAT. Having the prototype SCA antenna capable of making these measurements over a broad range of wind conditions installed on the P-3 will allow us to fully characterize this capability for the first time and provide invaluable data to support the ongoing SCA instrument study and development process.

STAR Ocean Surface Wind Team members deployed on this project include: Paul Chang, Zorana Jelenak, Suleiman Alsweiss, Joseph Sapp and Micah Baker.


ASCAT Ascending and Descending Images from January 17, 2015

ASCAT ascending image from Jan. 17, 2015 ASCAT descending image from Jan. 17, 2015
 


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