Effect of high-frequency sea waves on wave period retrieval from radar altimeter and buoy data

Xifeng Wang, Kaoru Ichikawa

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Wave periods estimated from satellite altimetry data behave differently from those calculated from buoy data, especially in low-wind conditions. In this paper, the geometric mean wave period Ta is calculated from buoy data, rather than the commonly used zero-crossing wave period Tz. The geometric mean wave period uses the fourth moment of the wave frequency spectrum and is related to the mean-square slope of the sea surface measured using altimeters. The values of Ta obtained from buoys and altimeters agree well (root mean square difference: 0.2 s) only when the contribution of high-frequency sea waves is estimated by a wavenumber spectral model to complement the buoy data, because a buoy cannot obtain data from waves having wavelengths that are shorter than the characteristic dimension of the buoy.

Original languageEnglish
Article number764
JournalRemote Sensing
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2016


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)

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