Hurricane; maximum a posteriori estimation; scatterometry; wind;
Although the SeaWinds scatterometer was not specifically designed to observe tropical cyclones, new high-resolution wind products resolve much of the horizontal structure of these storms. However, these higher resolution products (2.5 km) are inherently noisier than the standard 25-km near-surface wind products. These noise levels combined with rain contamination complicate high-resolution wind estimation-particularly in tropical cyclones. Fortunately, tropical cyclones have structures that can be exploited by using a wind field model. This paper develops a new procedure for hurricane wind field estimation from the SeaWinds instrument at ultrahigh resolution. A simplified hurricane model is developed to provide prior information to be used in maximum a posteriori probability estimation of ocean winds. Using the hurricane model ameliorates the effects of rain and noise and provides useful hurricane parameters such as the eye center location. The model also improves ambiguity selection. The new method reduces the variability of the wind speed and direction estimates, although high wind speeds still tend to be underestimated. The method also greatly improves wind direction estimates in hurricanes-even in rain-contaminated portions of the storm.
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