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Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans

A model function for ocean radar cross sections at 14.6 GHz


  • F. J. Wentz,

  • S. Peteherych,

  • L. A. Thomas


The relationship between the ocean's normalized radar cross section (NRCS) at 14.6 GHz and the surface wind vector is derived using the 3 months of Seasat microwave scatterometer (SASS) measurements. The derivation is based on the statistics of the SASS observations, and no in situ measurements are required, other than a mean global wind speed, which comes from climatology. The frequency distribution of the global wind vectors observed by SASS is assumed to be a bivariate normal probability function. A NRCS model function is found that maps the assumed wind vector statistics into the observed SASS NRCS statistics. This function is compared with a NRCS model coming from the Joint Air Sea Interaction Experiment (JASIN) and with aircraft scatterometer measurements. The results indicate that the statistically derived NRCS model is an improvement over the JASIN model, which was based on a limited number of in situ anemometer measurements.

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