XOVWM EXTENDED OCEAN VECTOR WINDS MISSION

LAUNCH: 2013–2016

MISSION SIZE: Medium

ORBIT: LEO, SSO

AGENCY: NOAA

ESTIMATED COST: $350 million

AREAS OF INTEREST: Climate

INSTRUMENTS: Backscatter radar

BENEFITS:

Prediction of changes in nutrient availability for fisheries and coastal ecosystems

Improved marine hazard prediction and navigation safety

Improved prediction of hurricanes, extratropical storms, coastal winds, and storm surge

In the last few years, scatterometer data from the QuikSCAT mission have become invaluable for marine warnings and hurricane forecasts, including the location and intensity of storm centers. But ocean currents and winds near coastlines are not being mapped by either scatterometers or altimeters at present, due to low spatial resolution and contamination of the radar signal by nearby land. In addition, there is currently no plan to replace the aging QuikSCAT.


XOVWM will measure wind speed and direction over the ocean surface at a spatial resolution of 5 kilometers or less over an 1,800-kilometer swath, revisiting each location every 18 hours or so. XOVWM will overlap with and supplement the SWOT mission (see page 24), improving our understanding of variability in winds and ocean currents. Data from XOVWM would be combined with data from the European Space Agency’s operational scatterometer to futher reduce the average time between wind measurements to 10 hours, approaching the 6-hour goal for weather forecasting. The coastal data from XOVWM will allow for better estimates of upwelling and nutrient supply for fisheries management. Many other coastal activities, from search-and-rescue missions to shipping, will benefit from model improvements made possible by XOVWM.

Compared to the existing QuikSCAT mission, which is operating years beyond its expected lifetime, XOVWM will provide improved wind measurements, especially in rainy conditions, as well as higher-spatial-resolution measurements, better coverage in coastal regions, and more frequent observations.



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earth Science and applicatiOnS frOm Space  xOVWM ExTENDED OCEAN VECTOR WINDS MISSION LAUNCH: 2013–2016 MISSION SIZE: medium ORBIT: Leo, sso AGENCY: noaa ESTIMATED COST: $350 million AREAS OF INTEREST: Climate INSTRUMENTS : Backscatter radar BENEFITS : Prediction of changes in nutrient availability for fisheries and coastal ecosystems improved marine hazard prediction and navigation safety improved prediction of hurricanes, extratropical storms, coastal winds, and storm surge in the last few years, scatterometer data from the QuiksCat mission have become invaluable for marine warnings and hurricane forecasts, including the location and intensity of storm centers. But ocean currents and winds near coastlines are not being mapped by either scatterometers or altimeters at present, due to low spatial resolution and contamination of the radar signal by nearby land. in addition, there is currently no plan to replace the aging QuiksCat. xoVWm will measure wind speed and direction over the ocean surface at a spatial resolution of 5 kilometers or less over an 1,800-kilometer swath, revisiting each location every 18 hours or so. xoVWm will overlap with and supplement the sWot mission (see page 24), improving our understanding of variability in winds and ocean currents. Data from xoVWm would be com- bined with data from the european space agency’s operational scatterometer to futher reduce the average time between wind measurements to 10 hours, approaching the 6-hour goal for weather forecasting. the coastal data from xoVWm will allow for better estimates of upwelling and nutrient supply for fisheries management. many other coastal activities, from search-and-rescue missions to shipping, will benefit from model improvements made possible by xoVWm. Compared to the existing QuiksCat mission, which is operating years beyond its expected lifetime, xoVWm will provide improved wind measurements, especially in rainy conditions, as well as higher-spatial-resolution measure- ments, better coverage in coastal regions, and more frequent observations.