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Scientific and programmatic context of the campaign

The French-Chinese space mission CFOSAT under development (launch planned for summer 2018) is dedicated To the measure of wind and waves on the ocean surface. It will carry two radar instruments, a wind scatterometer (SCAT) designed and developed by China, and a wave scatterometer (SWIM) designed and developed by France on CNES funding, and with technical and scientific monitoring by CNES. The main scientific objectives of the global measure of wind and waves by CFOSAT are :

  • Improve knowledge of surface processes and exchanges of energy and matter at the ocean / atmosphere interface (wave evolution, vague-current interactions, ice waves, coupling with the oceanic mixed layer and the marine boundary layer, ...)
  • Improve prediction of marine surface conditions (wind / waves) especially in extreme weather conditions (improvement of forecasting models, and data assimilation)
  • Improve modeling and forecasting of ocean circulation by better surface forcing and validation data
  • Contributing to the study of climatic variability of surface ocean parameters

Secondary objectives have been defined for continental surfaces and the cryosphere.

CFOSAT will embark the SWIM radar, Ku-band radar, operating in a range of 0 to 11 ° incidences covered by 5 beams, which will sweep over 360 ° in azimuth. This instrument will be used to estimate the wave directional spectrum and to measure the radar cross-sectional profile as a function of the incidence which will allow access to the statistical properties of the wave slopes. The spectral analysis of the echo gives access to the modulation spectrum of the backscattered signal, itself related to the wavelength spectrum of wavelengths of about 70 to 500 m. CFOSAT will also ship the SCAT Ku-band scatterometer (designed by the Chinese) covering the incidence of approximately 18 to 55 ° for the measurement of surface winds according to the classical wind scatterometer principle.

As part of the CFOSAT mission, LATMOS has developed and operates the KuROS (Ku Band Radar for Observing Surfaces) radar, embedded on ATR42, with a concept that reproduces as closely as possible the concept of the SWIM and SCAT instruments of CFOSAT.