Direct ocean surface velocity measurements from space: Improved quantitative interpretation of Envisat ASAR observations
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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- Geophysical Institute 
Previous analysis of Advanced Synthetic Aperture Radar (ASAR) signals collected by ESA’s Envisat has demonstrated a very valuable source of high-resolution information, namely, the line-of-sight velocity of the moving ocean surface. This velocity is estimated from a Doppler frequency shift, consistently extracted within the ASAR scenes. The Doppler shift results from the combined action of near surface wind on shorter waves, longer wave motion, wave breaking and surface current. Both kinematic and dynamic properties of the moving ocean surface roughness can therefore be derived from the ASAR observations. The observations are compared to simulations using a radar imaging model extended to include a Doppler shift module. The results are promising. Comparisons to coincident altimetry data suggest that regular account of this combined information would advance the use of SAR in quantitative studies of ocean currents.