3.6 Measuring Tropospheric Wind with Microwave Sounders

Wednesday, 10 January 2018: 2:45 PM
Ballroom G (ACC) (Austin, Texas)
Bjorn Lambrigtsen, JPL/California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA; and H. Su, J. Turk, V. Dang, and S. M. Hristova-Veleva

In its 2007 “Decadal Survey” of earth science missions for NASA the U.S. National Research Council recommended that a Doppler wind lidar be developed for a three-dimensional tropospheric winds mission (“3D-Winds”). The technology required for such a mission has not yet been developed, and it is expected that the next Decadal Survey, planned to be released by the end of 2017, will put additional emphasis on the still pressing need for wind measurements from space. The first Decadal Survey also called for a geostationary microwave sounder (GMS) on a Precipitation and All-weather Temperature and Humidity (PATH) mission, which could be used to measure wind from space. Such a sounder, the Geostationary Synthetic Thinned Aperture Radiometer (GeoSTAR), has been developed at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). The PATH mission has not yet been funded by NASA, but a low-cost subset of PATH, GeoStorm has been proposed as a hosted payload on a commercial communications satellite. Both PATH and GeoStorm would obtain frequent (every 15 minutes of better) measurements of tropospheric water vapor profiles, and they can be used to derive atmospheric motion vector (AMV) wind profiles, even in the presence of clouds. Measurement of wind is particularly important in the tropics, where the atmosphere is largely not in thermal balance and wind estimates cannot generally be derived from temperature and pressure fields. We report on simulation studies of AMV wind vectors derived from a GMS and from a cluster of low-earth-orbiting (LEO) small satellites (e.g., CubeSats). The results of two separate simulation studies are very encouraging and show that a ±2 m/s wind speed precision is attainable, which would satisfy WMO requirements. A GMS observing system in particular, which can be implemented now, would enable significant progress in the study of atmospheric dynamics.

Copyright 2017 California Institute of Technology. Government sponsorship acknowledged

- Indicates paper has been withdrawn from meeting
- Indicates an Award Winner