Articles | Volume 6, issue 4
Research article
22 Apr 2013
Research article |  | 22 Apr 2013

On the characteristics of ASCAT wind direction ambiguities

W. Lin, M. Portabella, A. Stoffelen, and A. Verhoef

Abstract. The inversion of the Advanced Scatterometer (ASCAT) backscatter measurement triplets generally leads to two wind ambiguities with similar wind speed values and opposite wind directions. However, for up-, down- and crosswind (with respect to the mid-beam azimuth direction) cases, the inversion often leads to three or four wind solutions. In most of such cases, the inversion residuals or maximum likelihood estimators (MLEs) of the third and fourth solutions (i.e. high-rank solutions) are substantially higher than those of the first two (low-rank) ambiguities. This indicates a low probability for the high-rank solutions and thus essentially dual ambiguity. This paper investigates the characteristics of ASCAT high-rank wind solutions under different conditions with the objective of developing a method for rejecting the spurious high-rank solutions. The implementation of this rejection procedure improves the effectiveness of the ASCAT wind quality control (QC) and ambiguity removal procedures.