Modification of SAR spectra associated with surface wind fields in the sea off the Kii Peninsula: A case study

Jian Sun, Hiroshi Kawamura

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3 Citations (Scopus)


Using surface wave parameters and a high-resolution surface wind field derived from Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) image mode data, we have investigated the spatial modification of SAR spectra. We found a surface wind front, formed by sheltering effect of the Kii Mountains, separating high and low wind-speed regions in a sea area of an European Remote-Sensing Satellite (ERS) SAR image off the Kii Peninsula. A swell system propagating westward dominates in the whole sea area covered by the SAR image. The wavelength retrieved from the SAR spectra in the sheltered (non-sheltered) region is longer (shorter). Since the distributions of surface wave parameters and surface wind speed are so well correlated, it can be considered that the SAR spectra are modified differently by the sheltered/non-sheltered surface winds. In order to examine the phenomena observed on the SAR image we have estimated the wind-wave SAR spectrum using the SAR surface winds, a wind-wave spectrum model and a SAR wave imaging model. We assume that the SAR spectrum related to the swell is homogeneous in the area imaged by SAR, and that the SAR spectrum of the wind-wave components causes the observed SAR spectra modification. Differences between the observed SAR spectra and the estimated SAR spectra in the sheltered and non-sheltered regions agree well with each other. In the present case, it can be concluded that the observed SAR spectra can be regarded as a linear combination of the wind-wave SAR spectra and the swell SAR spectra.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)45-52
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Oceanography
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2009


  • SAR
  • Surface winds
  • Swell

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography


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