Application of AMSR-E and AMSR2 Low-Frequency Channel Brightness Temperature Data for Hurricane Wind Retrievals

Mingrun Mai, Biao Zhang, Xiaofeng Li, Paul A. Hwang, Jun A. Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


We present a method to retrieve wind speeds in hurricanes from spaceborne passive microwave radiometer data. Brightness temperature (TB) observations acquired at the 6.9-GHz horizontal polarization channel by the AMSR-E and AMSR2 onboard the Earth Observing System Aqua and Global Change Observation Mission-Water 1 satellites are selected for wind retrieval due to the fact that the signal at this frequency is sensitive to high wind speeds but less sensitive to rain scatter than those acquired at other higher frequency channels. The AMSR-E and AMSR2 observations of 53 hurricanes between 2002 and 2014 are collected and collocated with stepped-frequency microwave radiometer (SFMR) measurements. Based on the small slope approximation/small perturbation method model and an ocean surface roughness spectrum, the wind speeds are retrieved from the $T-{B}$ data and validated against the SFMR measurements. The statistical comparison of the entire data set shows that the bias and root-mean-square error (RMSE) of the retrieved wind speeds are 1.11 and 4.34 m/s, respectively, which suggests that the proposed method can obtain high wind speeds under hurricane conditions. Two case studies show that the wind speed retrieval bias and RMSE are 1.08 and 3.93 m/s for Hurricane Earl and 0.09 and 3.23 m/s for Hurricane Edouard, respectively. The retrieved wind speeds from the AMSR-E and AMSR2 continuous three-day observations clearly show the process of hurricane intensification and weakening.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number7452597
Pages (from-to)4501-4512
Number of pages12
JournalIEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2016


  • Hurricane
  • passive microwave remote sensing
  • radiometer
  • Wind retrievals

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)


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