Contribution of RADARSAT-1 to the Hurricane Watch Program

Greta Burger, Steve Iris
2004 Space OPS 2004 Conference   unpublished
Since 1999 the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) has undertaken a joint project, called Hurricane Watch (HW), with the Canada Centre for Remote Sensing (CCRS), the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration/Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory (NOAA/AOML), and more recently the Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO). This project has evolved from archival data searches to storm monitoring and dedicated planning. Program focus in recent years has been an effort to
more » ... been an effort to plan RADARSAT-1 coverage with coincident NOAA aircraft penetration flights. In this paper, we will describe the CSA Mission Planning Center, the RADARSAT-1 planning timeline and guidelines, which form the basis for all planning, and activities related to storm tracking and request submission to support the HW program. The CSA maintains responsibilities for the overall management of issues related to data acquisition for the program, which involve: 1) monitoring active and potential hurricanes and tropical storms; 2) determining possible RADARSAT-1 coverage and generating requests; 3) submission of requests; 4) planning requests through routine operations and standard procedures; 5) monitoring status of submissions; 6) communication with project partners, and 7) acting as a liaison for project partners. We will discuss the challenges of hurricane imaging due to sometimes unpredictable storm trajectories coupled with imaging geometry, coverage and planning constraints. Finally, 2003 post-season results and imagery will be presented to demonstrate the contribution of RADARSAT-1 data in the study of hurricanes. History RADARSAT-1 was launched in November 1995 into a dawn-dusk, sun-synchronous orbit, with a 24-day repeat cycle. One of the prime objectives of the mission was to be able to provide an operationally responsive system capable of providing data to the SAR user community both in terms of data quality and turn-around time [1] . The synthetic aperture radar (SAR) on board RADARSAT-1 provides the distinct advantage of all-weather capabilities, allowing it to penetrate clouds to provide ocean surface views from above. During the hurricane season of 1998 attempts were made to acquire RADARSAT-1 imagery over hurricanes as part of the CSA Disaster Watch Program. This program was initiated by CSA to provide archival data of catastrophic events such as tropical storms, earthquakes, flooding, etc. During that season four images were acquired over Hurricanes Bonnie, Danielle, Georges and Mitch. The data were subsequently ordered from archive by researchers at CCRS to investigate the potential for identifying tropical storm related phenomena using SAR data [2] . According to Katsaros et al (3) RADARSAT-1 images can provide details about a storm's structure, when it is out of range of coastal radars. They describe signatures in the surface roughness patterns in the region between the rainbands in hurricanes, where SAR was operated in the wind mode, which they interpreted as indications of roll vortices. The large spatial extent
doi:10.2514/6.2004-166-56 fatcat:55zgndwt2zcrlgzbrr4vhjgnym