WindSat is a satellite-based polarimetric microwave radiometer aboard the joint DoD/Navy platform Coriolis that measures ocean surface wind vectors. Each card on this page represents a product derived using data from the WindSat instrument. Products on green cards, marked as "Transitioned Product," are being used by at least one National Weather Service Forecast Office. For more details on any product, click the link at the bottom of each eard. To see actual real-time data, click the link at the bottom right of the card.
Wind direction and speed.
WindSat is a satellite-based polarimetric microwave radiometer developed by the Naval Research Laboratory Remote Sensing Division, the Naval Center for Space Technology, and the National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS) Integrated Program Office (IPO). It was launched in January 2003 aboard the joint DoD/Navy platform Coriolis, with a planned 3-year life. Despite its extended lifespan, it continues to function quite well. WindSat measures the ocean surface wind vector, as well as cloud liquid water, sea surface temperature, total precipitable water, and rain rate (over water only). Derived products include soil moisture and sea ice. The Navy, NOAA, and UK Met Office frequently use WindSat data in several operational forecast models.
Coriolis is sun-synchronous (1800 UTC equator crossing time) and WindSat has a swath width of ~1000 km, with a resolution is ~50 km. The Naval Research Laboratory in Monterey has worked for several years improving the algorithm for wind retrieval, introducing several improvements since 2004. WindSat data had always been a secondary wind observation with QuikSCAT (launched 1999) as the primary source, because of its better resolution and accuracy. However, when QuikSCAT failed in 2009, NRL researchers were encouraged to push their improved WindSat algorithm into operations.
In the Fall of 2010, SPoRT was asked by the NWS's Office of Science and Technology to transition NRL's experimental ocean surface wind vectors derived from WindSat to selected forecast offices. These data are currently undergoing evaluation by forecasters in the Alaska Region and the Eureka, Medford, and Monterey WFOs in the Western Region.