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Proceedings Paper

The NASA CYGNSS mission: a pathfinder for GNSS scatterometry remote sensing applications
Author(s): Randy Rose; Scott Gleason; Chris Ruf
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Paper Abstract

Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) based scatterometry offers breakthrough opportunities for wave, wind, ice, and soil moisture remote sensing. Recent developments in electronics and nano-satellite technologies combined with modeling techniques developed over the past 20 years are enabling a new class of remote sensing capabilities that present more cost effective solutions to existing problems while opening new applications of Earth remote sensing. Key information about the ocean and global climate is hidden from existing space borne observatories because of the frequency band in which they operate. Using GNSS-based bi-static scatterometry performed by a constellation of microsatellites offers remote sensing of ocean wave, wind, and ice data with unprecedented temporal resolution and spatial coverage across the full dynamic range of ocean wind speeds in all precipitating conditions. The NASA Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System (CYGNSS) is a space borne mission being developed to study tropical cyclone inner core processes. CYGNSS consists of 8 GPS bi-static radar receivers to be deployed on separate micro-satellites in October 2016. CYGNSS will provide data to address what are thought to be the principle deficiencies with current tropical cyclone intensity forecasts: inadequate observations and modeling of the inner core. The inadequacy in observations results from two causes: 1) Much of the inner core ocean surface is obscured from conventional remote sensing instruments by intense precipitation in the eye wall and inner rain bands. 2) The rapidly evolving (genesis and intensification) stages of the tropical cyclone life cycle are poorly sampled in time by conventional polar-orbiting, wide-swath surface wind imagers. It is anticipated that numerous additional Earth science applications can also benefit from the cost effective high spatial and temporal sampling capabilities of GNSS remote sensing. These applications include monitoring of rough and dangerous sea states, global observations of sea ice cover and extent, meso-scale ocean circulation studies, and near surface soil moisture observations. This presentation provides a primer for GNSS based scatterometry, an overview of NASA's CYGNSS mission and its expected performance, as well as a summary of possible other GNSS based remote sensing applications.

Paper Details

Date Published: 14 October 2014
PDF: 10 pages
Proc. SPIE 9240, Remote Sensing of the Ocean, Sea Ice, Coastal Waters, and Large Water Regions 2014, 924005 (14 October 2014); doi: 10.1117/12.2068378
Show Author Affiliations
Randy Rose, Southwest Research Institute (United States)
Scott Gleason, Southwest Research Institute (United States)
Chris Ruf, Univ. of Michigan (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 9240:
Remote Sensing of the Ocean, Sea Ice, Coastal Waters, and Large Water Regions 2014
Charles R. Bostater Jr.; Stelios P. Mertikas; Xavier Neyt, Editor(s)

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