Wednesday, 12 February 2003
QuikSCAT Satellite Comparisons with Near-Shore Buoy Wind Data off the US West Coast
To determine the accuracy of near-shore QuikSCAT satellite derived winds, we compared wind observations from three of the satellite’s multiple data sets (scientifically-processed swath, gridded near-real-time, and gridded science) to 12 near-shore and three offshore US west coast buoys. We used satellite observations from August 1999 to December 2000 that were within 25 km and 30 minutes of each buoy. Our comparisons showed that satellite-buoy differences near shore were larger than those offshore for all three data sets. Editing satellite data by discarding observations recorded in rain and those with wind speeds less than 6 m/s, improved the relative accuracy of all three data sets. After editing, the RMS differences (satellite minus buoy) for the 12 near-shore buoys were 1.3 m/s and 26 degrees for swath data, 3.2 m/s and 45 degrees for gridded near-real-time data, and 3.1 m/s and 41 degrees for gridded science data. The RMS differences for the three offshore buoys were 1.0 m/s and 15 degrees for swath data, 2.7 m/s and 42 degrees for gridded near-real-time data, and 2.5 m/s and 41 degrees for gridded science data. Although the satellite’s wind observations near shore do not match buoy observations as closely as those offshore, we believe that QuikSCAT swath wind data are sufficiently accurate for many near-shore studies.