SEASAT synthetic aperture radar (SAR) echoes from the sea have previously been shown to be the result of rain and winds produced by convective storms; rain damps the surface waves and causes echo-free holes, while the diverging winds associated with the downdraft generate waves and associated echoes surrounding the holes. Gust fronts are also evident. Such a snapshot from 8 July 1978 has been examined in conjunction with ground-based radar. This leads to the conclusion that the SAR storm footprints resulted from storm processes that occurred up to an hour or more prior to the snapshot. A sequence of events is discerned from the SAR imagery in which new cell growth is triggered in between the converging outflows of two preexisting cells. In turn, the new cell generates a minisquall line along its expanding gust front. While such phenomena are well known over land, the spaceborne SAR now allows important inferences to be made about the nature and frequency of convective storms over the oceans. The storm effects on the sea have significant implications for spaceborne wind scatterometry and rainfall measurements. Some of the findings herein remain speculative because of the great distance to the Miami weather radarthe only source of corroborative data.
Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society – American Meteorological Society
Published: Jul 7, 1994
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