The Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System (CYGNSS), launching November 2016, aims to improve current estimates of surface winds over most of the world’s oceans as it will use the GPS L1 channel (1575 MHz, 19-cm wavelength), which does not experience appreciable attenuation in the presence of heavy clouds and precipitation, especially within tropical cyclones. It is our aim to show that CYGNSS’s improved surface wind estimates will lead to better estimates of surface heat fluxes over the oceans in nearly all weather conditions.
The motivation for the work presented here stems from a case study of a strong marine extratropical cyclone (ETC) that occurred in November 2006 off the Atlantic coast of the United States (Crespo and Posselt 2016). Various observations from CloudSat showed a compelling stratiform-to-convective transition in the warm front’s cloud structure and thermodynamic field. Initial examination of reanalysis data indicate large values of surface latent and sensible heat fluxes, correlating with faster surface wind speeds, around the cyclone that could have directly contributed to the cyclone’s intensification and warm frontal convective transition. Though CYGNSS’s mission will be focused in the tropics with its tropical orbit inclination, we will demonstrate its potential ability to observe extratropical cyclones forming in the lower midlatitudes and their associated surface fluxes.