Observing Tropical Cyclones

Remote sensing techniques appear to be the most efficient way to monitor Tropical Cyclones (TC), as these low pressure systems evolve in data-sparse oceanic regions. IFREMER team is working on algorithms to retrieve geophysical parameters over TC. Recent work has been devoted to the use of L-band radiometer and C-band Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) for providing an estimate of the ocean surface wind speed. CyclObs aims to present this unique catalogue of measurements. CyclObs benefits from collaborations with various partners through different projects funded by ESA, CNES, EUMETSAT and ANR agencies.

Available instruments/missions
C-Band Synthetic Aperture Radar

During summer 2016, a campaign (SHOC) dedicated to the observation of hurricanes with Sentinel-1 SAR was performed in the frame of the ESA Scientific Exploitation of Operational Missions program. It has successfully illustrated the benefit of late programming to capture hurricane eyes. The feasibility of deriving ocean surface wind speed measurements under extreme events thanks to Sentinel-1 SAR new capabilities was also demonstrated. SHOC is still going on as a demonstration concept of what could be a future Europena service for routine monitoring of Tropical Cyclone with SAR. All C-band SAR measurements presented on this website are from Copernicus/ESA Sentinel-1 and CSA/MDA Radarsat-2 missions.

Acknowledgements

SAR level-2 ocean surface wind measurements are produced by Ifremer with support of ESA/CNES/ANR fundings. Algorithm and processing chain has been developed by Ifremer in partnership with CLS.

Regarding Copernicus/ESA Sentinel-1 data, CyclObs team is grateful to ESA and Sentinel-1 mission planning team for their efficiency during SHOC.

Regarding CSA/MDA Radarsat-2 data, CyclObs team is grateful to GIS BreTel and Vigisat operators for their efficiency during SHOC.

Scientific collaborations are listed in the references related to this product.

How to cite these data

If you have to use SAR images from CyclObs, please be sure to credit Ifremer. Please include the following citation: "This image/product was obtained from Ifremer/Cyclobs and produced with SAR wind processor co-developped by IFREMER and CLS"

References related to this product

Mouche Alexis, Chapron Bertrand, Knaff John, Zhao Yuan, Zhang Biao, Combot Clement (2019). Copolarized and Cross‐Polarized SAR Measurements for High‐Resolution Description of Major Hurricane Wind Structures: Application to Irma Category 5 Hurricane. Journal Of Geophysical Research-oceans, 124(6), 3905-3922. https://doi.org/10.1029/2019JC015056

Zhao Yuan, Mouche Alexis, Chapron Bertrand, Reul Nicolas (2018). Direct Comparison Between Active C-Band Radar and Passive L-Band Radiometer Measurements: Extreme Event Cases. IEEE Geoscience And Remote Sensing Letters, 15(6), 897-901. https://doi.org/10.1109/LGRS.2018.2811712

Mouche Alexis, Chapron Bertrand, Zhang Biao, Husson Romain (2017). Combined Co- and Cross-Polarized SAR Measurements Under Extreme Wind Conditions. IEEE Transactions On Geoscience And Remote Sensing, 55(12), 6746-6755 . https://doi.org/10.1109/TGRS.2017.2732508

L-Band SMOS Radiometer

The sensor of the ESA’s Earth Observation mission SMOS is a microwave radiometer which operates at L-band (frequency~1.4 GHz, 21 cm wavelength), a protected frequency primarily chosen to allow global measurements of Soil Moisture and Ocean surface Salinity from space. SMOS was launched late 2009 and its sensors provide L-band brightness temperature imaging of the Earth over a ~1000 km wide swath at about ~40 km nominal resolution, and with global coverage in about 3 days. It was first demonstrated in [Reul et al.,2012,2016] that SMOS L-band passive measurements over the ocean offer new and unique opportunities to complement existing ocean satellite high wind observations in Tropical Cyclones (TCs) and severe weather. The physical basis for surface wind speed retrievals in extreme weather from passive microwave radiometers involves emission from a rough, foam-covered sea surface. In stormy conditions, ocean surface breaking waves generate extensive foam patches and deep bubble layers associated with high emissivity at microwave frequencies. The foam horizontal coverage and thickness extension as wind speed increases towards hurricane force and above and the associated emissivity increase are the basic principles for surface wind speed retrievals from radiometers. This information can be used as a means of remotely measuring surface wind speeds in hurricanes from airborne, or spaceborne, microwave radiometers. The specificity of L-band radiometer is that at an electromagnetic frequency of 1.4 GHz, upwelling radiation are significantly less affected by rain and atmospheric effects than at higher microwave frequencies. Being negligibly affected by the atmosphere and sea-spray, L-band radiometers therefore uniquely sense the actual ocean surface in Tropical Cyclones.

CyclObs only provides SMOS wind measurements over storms associated with a storm track… To date this database only considers data after the 2018/05/01.

SMOS product information

SMOS products are generated from L2 daily wind products generated by CERSAT/IFREMER. ATCF data is used to find a cyclone presence on SMOS daily files, an area of 2000 km is taken around the matching data cell. Data cell with quality_level > 1 are set to NaN as they correspond to low quality cells, as explained here.

Acknowledgements

SMOS input data of CyclObs are SMOS Level-2 daily ocean surface wind products. They are processed and delivered by the ESA/Ifremer/ODL SMOS Wind data service. This database only considers data after the 2018/05/01. Algorithm and processing chain have been developed by Ifremer in partnership with ODL. All details and documentation are available on the SMOS wind data service website: https://www.smosstorm.org/.

How to cite these data

If you have to use SMOS images from CyclObs, please be sure to credit Ifremer. Please include the following citation: This image was obtained from Ifremer/LOPS"

References related to this product

Reul Nicolas, Tenerelli Joseph, Chapron Bertrand, Vandemark Doug, Quilfen Yves, Kerr Yann (2012). SMOS satellite L-band radiometer: A new capability for ocean surface remote sensing in hurricanes. Journal Of Geophysical Research-oceans , 117, - . Publisher's official version: https://doi.org/10.1029/2011JC007474, Open Access version: https://archimer.ifremer.fr/doc/00067/17805/

Reul, N., B. Chapron, E. Zabolotskikh, C. Donlon, Y. Quilfen, S. Guimbard, J.F. Piolle (2016), A revised L-band Radio-brightness sensitivity to extreme winds under Tropical Cyclone: the 5 year SMOS Storm database, Remote Sensing of Environment, doi: 10.1016/j.rse.2016.03.011, available at: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0034425716301043

Reul Nicolas, Chapron Bertrand, Zabolotskikh E., Donlon C., Mouche Alexis, Tenerelli Joseph, Collard F., Piolle Jean-Francois, Fore A., Yueh S., Cotton J., Francis P., Quilfen Yves, Kudryavtsev V. (2017). A new generation of Tropical Cyclone Size measurements from space. Bulletin Of The American Meteorological Society , 98(11), 2367-2386 . Publisher's official version : https://doi.org/10.1175/BAMS-D-15-00291.1

L-Band SMAP Radiometer

SMAP (Soil Moisture Active Passive) is a NASA mission whose first goal was soil moisture from active and passive sensors. As for SMOS microwave radiometer (see section on SMOS), SMAP microwave radiometer operates at L-band (frequency~1.4 GHz, 21 cm wavelength) and provides L-band brightness temperature imaging of the Earth over a ~1000 km wide swath at about ~40 km nominal resolution, and with global coverage in about 3 days. SMAP mission was launched in 2015 and its passive instrument is a real aperture radiometer. It was first demonstrated in [Yueh et al., 2016 ; Meissner, 2017] that SMAP L-band passive measurements can provide ocean satellite high wind speed estimates in Tropical Cyclones (TCs) and severe weather situations over the ocean. The basis of such capabilities are the same than for SMOS (see section SMOS or references).

CyclObs only provides SMAP wind measurements over storms associated with a storm track…. This database covers the whole mission (2015-Present).

SMAP product information

SMAP products are generated from L2 daily wind products generated by REMSS. ATCF data is used to find a cyclone presence on SMAP daily files, an area of 2000 km is taken around the matching data cell.

References

Yueh S., H., Fore A. G., Tang W., Hayashi A., Stiles B., Reul N., Weng Yonghui, Zhang Fuqing (2016). SMAP L-Band Passive Microwave Observations Of Ocean Surface Wind During Severe Storms. IEEE Transactions On Geoscience And Remote Sensing, 54(12), 7339-7350.

Meissner, T., L. Ricciardulli, and F. Wentz, 2017a: Capability of the SMAP Mission to Measure Ocean Surface Winds in Storms, Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, 98, 1660-1677. doi:10.1175/BAMS-D-16-0052.1

Acknowledgements

SMAP input data of CyclObs are SMAP sea surface wind data are produced by Remote Sensing Systems and sponsored by NASA Earth Science funding. Data are available at www.remss.com/missions/SMAP/winds/"

They must be refered as Meissner, T., L. Ricciardulli, and F. Wentz, 2018: Remote Sensing Systems SMAP daily Sea Surface Winds Speeds on 0.25 deg grid, Version 01.0. [NRT or FINAL]. Remote Sensing Systems, Santa Rosa, CA. Available online at www.remss.com/missions/smap/

Contributing projects/partners
Funding
Associated Projects
MPC Sentinel-1 ; ESA project
CYMS ESA funding (https://www.esa-cyms.org/)

Sentinel-1 for Science Ocean ESA project (http://www.s1oceanstudy.org/)

Dragon-4 ; ESA project

CHEFS ; EUMETSAT

CARAVELE ; ANR project

CFOSAT for Ocean Waves Study (COWS); CNES Funding