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Validation of Backscatter Measurements from the Advanced Scatterometer on MetOp-A

AuthorsAnderson, Craig; Figa, J.; Bonekamp, H.; Wilson, J.; Verspeek, Jeroen; Stoffelen, Ad; Portabella, Marcos
Climate records
Data quality control
Radars observations
Satellite observations
Radar observations
Issue DateJan-2012
PublisherAmerican Meteorological Society
CitationJournal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology 29(1): 77-88 (2012)
AbstractThe Advanced Scatterometer (ASCAT) on the Meteorological Operational (MetOp) series of satellites is designed to provide data for the retrieval of ocean wind fields. Three transponders were used to give an absolute calibration and the worst-case calibration error is estimated to be 0.15–0.25 dB. In this paper the calibrated data are validated by comparing the backscatter from a range of naturally distributed targets against models developed from European Remote Sensing Satellite (ERS) scatterometer data. For the Amazon rainforest it is found that the isotropic backscatter decreases from −6.2 to −6.8 dB over the incidence angle range. The ERS value is around −6.5 dB. All ASCAT beams are within 0.1 dB of each other. Rainforest backscatter over a 3-yr period is found to be very stable with annual changes of approximately 0.02 dB. ASCAT ocean backscatter is compared against values from the C-band geophysical model function (CMOD-5) using ECMWF wind fields. A difference of approximately 0.2 dB below 55° incidence is found. Differences of over 1 dB above 55° are likely due to inaccuracies in CMOD-5, which has not been fully validated at large incidence angles. All beams are within 0.1 dB of each other. Backscatter from regions of stable Antarctic sea ice is found to be consistent with model backscatter except at large incidence angles where the model has not been validated. The noise in the ice backscatter indicates that the normalized standard deviation of the backscatter values Kp is around 4.5%, which is consistent with the expected value. These results agree well with the expected calibration accuracy and give confidence that the calibration has been successful and that ASCAT products are of high quality
Description12 pages, 23 figures
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1175/JTECH-D-11-00020.1
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