Scatterometers are remote sensing radars designed to measure near-surface winds over the ocean. The difficulties of accommodating traditional fan-beam scatterometers on spacecraft has lead to the development of a scanning pencil-beam instrument known as SeaWinds. SeaWinds will be part of the Japanese Advanced Earth Observing Satellite II (ADEOS-II) to be launched in 1999. To analyze the performance of the SeaWinds design, a new expression for the measurement accuracy of a pencil-beam system is required. In this paper the authors derive a general expression for the backscatter measurement accuracy for a pencil-beam scatterometer which includes the effects of transmit signal modulation with simple power detection. Both separate and simultaneous signal+noise and noise-only measurements are considered. The utility of the new expression for scatterometer design tradeoffs is demonstrated using a simplified geometry. A separate paper, ibid., 1997, describes detailed tradeoffs made to develop the SeaWinds design.
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