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Polarimetric measurements over the sea-surface with the airborne STORM radar in the context of the geophysical validation of the ENVISAT ASAR

Dr Danièle Hauser (1), Prof. Gérard Caudal(1) , Dr Monique Dechambre(1) , and Thierry Podvin(1)

(1) CNRS/UVSQ, 10-12 Avenue de l'Europe, F-78140 VELIZY, France


Among the new specificities of the ENVISAT/ASAR particular polarization diversity make the instrument very promising, but require complementary studies in addition to those already completed with the ERS data. Moreover, in the context of the preparation of other missions which will embark polarimetric SAR (e.g. RADARSAT2) it is important to better assess the benefit of multi-polarization or polarimetric SAR systems. In particular, over the ocean the question remains open regarding the estimate of wind speed, directional spectra of surface ocean waves and maybe other parameters related to wave breaking. CETP has designed and developed a new airborne radar called “STORM” , which has a full polarimetric capability. STORM is a new-version of the RESSAC airborne radar already used in previous experiments (Hauser et al, JGR 1992). STORM is a real-aperture, C-Band system with a FM/CW transmission and with a rotating antenna to explore in azimuth. In addition to RESSAC (which was mono-polarized) it offers a polarization diversity (receiving simulatenously in H and V polarizations) which enables us to analyze the radar cross-section in HH, VV, HV, and other cross-polarized terms related to the scattering matrix. In the context of the validation of the ASAR wave mode of ENVISAT, a field experiment will be carried out in October and November 2002 over the ocean (offshore the coasts of Brittany, France), with “STORM” embarked on the MERLIN-IV aircraft of Meteo-France. We intend to perform about 20 flights under the ENVISAT SAR swath during a one-month experiment, with overpasses over a directional wave buoy also equipped with wind measurements. The ASAR image mode (in HH or VV) or alternating polarization mode will be requested during these flights. STORM will be used in a mode which will permit to measure the full complex scattering matrix over the sea surface at incidence angles ranging from 10 to 35°. In addition to conventional analysis of the radar cross-sections in HH, and VV polarizations to estimate wind speed and directional wave spectra, cross-polarized cross-sections and parameters derived from the full polarimetric matrix will be analyzed to investigate their relation with the environmental conditions (wind, waves), using co-located in situ measurements. With this combination of measurements we will first assess the performance of the ASAR products and inversion scheme to estimate the 2D wave spectra and wind in various configurations of polarization state. In addition, we expect new results on the parameters related to the full polarimetric matrix and their relation with environmental conditions. During this workshop, first results of this experiment will be presented.


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