• RADAR BACKSCATTER MEASUREMENT ACCURACY FOR SPACEBORNE SCANNING PENCIL-BEAM SCATTEROMETERS

      Long, David G. (International Foundation for Telemetering, 1995-11)
      A radar scatterometer transmits a series of RF pulses and measures the total-power (energy) of the backscattered signal. Measurements of the backscattered energy from the ocean's surface can be used to infer the near-surface wind vector [7]. Accurate backscatter energy measurements are required to insure accurate wind estimates. Unfortunately, the signal measurement is noisy so a separate measurement of the noise-only total-power is subtracted from the signal measurement to estimate the echo signal energy. A common metric for evaluating the accuracy of the scatterometer energy measurement is the normalized signal variance, termed K(p). In designing a scatterometer tradeoffs in design parameters are made to minimize K(p). Spaceborne scatterometers have traditionally been based on fan-beam antennas and CW modulation for which expressions for K(p) exist. Advanced pencil-beam scatterometers, such as SeaWinds currently being developed by NASA use modulated Signals so that new K(p) expressions are required. This paper outlines the derivation of the generalized K(p) expression. While very complicated in its exact form, with a simplified geometry the K(p) expression can be related to the radar ambiguity function. The resulting analysis yields insights into the tradeoffs inherent in a scatterometer design and permits analytic tradeoffs in system performance.