Evaluation of wind vectors observed by QuikSCAT/SeaWinds using ocean buoy data

Naoto Ebuchi, Hans C. Graber, Michael J. Caruso

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

291 Scopus citations


Wind vectors observed by the QuikSCAT/Sea Winds satellite mission are validated by comparing with wind and wave data from ocean buoys. Effects of oceanographic and atmospheric environment on scatterometer measurements are also assessed using the buoy data. Three versions of QuikSCAT/Sea Winds wind data were collocated with buoy observations operated by the National Data Buoy Center (NDBC), Tropical Atmosphere Ocean (TAO), and Pilot Research Moored Array in the Tropical Atlantic (PIRATA) projects, and the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA). Only buoys located offshore and in deep water were analyzed. The temporal and spatial differences between the QuikSCAT/Sea Winds and buoy observations were limited to less than 30 min and 25 km. The buoy wind speeds were converted to equivalent neutral winds at a height of 10 m above the sea surface. The comparisons show that the wind speeds and directions observed by QuikSCAT/Sea Winds agree well with the buoy data. The root-mean-squared differences of the wind speed and direction for the standard wind data products are 1.01 m s-1 and 23°, respectively, while no significant dependencies on the wind speed or cross-track cell location are discernible. In addition, the dependencies of wind speed residuals on oceanographic and atmospheric parameters observed by buoys are examined using the collocated data. A weak positive correlation of the wind speed residuals with the significant wave height is found, while dependencies on the sea surface temperature or atmospheric stability are not physically significant.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2049-2062
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ocean Engineering
  • Atmospheric Science


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