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Detection of Meso-scale Atmospheric Fronts in the Marine Boundary Layer by Spaceborne Synthetic Aperture Radar

Werner Alpers(1)

(1) University of Hamburg, Bundesstrasse 53, D-20146 Hamburg, Germany


Abstract Surface signatures of meso-scale atmospheric fronts are often observed on synthetic aperture radar (SAR) images acquired over sea areas which are bordered by coastal mountains. They are generated by the collisions of two airflows from opposing directions: one is associated with a synoptic-scale wind blowing against the coastal mountain range and the other is associated either with re-circulated airflow from the synoptic-scale onshore wind or with local katabatic wind. At the convergence zone where both airflows collide, air is forced to move upward, which often gives rise to the formation of coast-parallel cloud bands which are visible on MERIS and MODIS images. Sea areas where these meso-scale atmospheric fronts are frequently encountered are the east coasts of Taiwan, Vietnam, South Africa, and Mexico. The conditions under which they are generated are investigated by using Quikscat wind data and meteorological data from radiosondes.


Workshop presentation

Keywords: ESA European Space Agency - Agence spatiale europeenne, observation de la terre, earth observation, satellite remote sensing, teledetection, geophysique, altimetrie, radar, chimique atmospherique, geophysics, altimetry, radar, atmospheric chemistry