Wind retrieval from shipborne nautical X-band radar data

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85 Scopus citations


In this paper, we study the retrieval of wind information from nautical X-band radar data. In contrast to previous studies, where data from stationary research platforms were used, this study focuses on data from a moving platform, encountering a larger variety of conditions than a platform at a fixed location. Compared to traditional in situ sensors, wind data derived from nautical radar images are much less susceptible to air flow distortion by the platform, since the images cover a large area around the ship. Images collected with a standard nautical HH-polarized X-band radar operating at grazing incidence exhibit a single intensity peak in upwind direction. The wind retrieval method developed here uses a harmonic function that is least-squares fitted to the radar backscatter intensity as a function of antenna look direction. The upwind direction is given by the direction that corresponds to the peak of the fitted function. An empirical model function is derived to retrieve the wind speed from the average radar backscatter intensity. Contrary to wind retrieval methods that have been proposed before, this approach is well suited for data acquired from a moving platform, as it functions well even if the radar field of view is partially shadowed and does not require ship motion correction. Here, we focus on data that were collected during two storms, using the first storm to derive and the second to test the empirical model functions. The method is validated using measurements from two ship-based anemometers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number6168250
Pages (from-to)3800-3811
Number of pages12
JournalIEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing
Issue number10 PART1
StatePublished - 2012


  • Marine radar
  • sea surface
  • signal analysis
  • wind

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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