Purdue University Graduate School
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Assimilation of GNSS-R Delay-Doppler Maps into Weather Models

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posted on 2020-12-15, 21:27 authored by Feixiong HuangFeixiong Huang
Global Navigation Satellite System Reflectometry (GNSS-R) is a remote sensing technique that uses reflected satellite navigation signals from the Earth surface in a bistatic radar configuration. GNSS-R observations have been collected using receivers on stationary, airborne and spaceborne platforms. The delay-Doppler map (DDM) is the fundamental GNSS-R measurement from which ocean surface wind speed can be retrieved. GNSS-R observations can be assimilated into numerical weather prediction models to improve weather analyses and forecasts. The direct assimilation of DDM observations shows potential superiority over the assimilation of wind retrievals.

This dissertation demonstrates the direct assimilation of GNSS-R DDMs using a two-dimensional variational analysis method (VAM). First, the observation forward model and its Jacobian are developed. Then, the observation's bias correction, quality control, and error characterization are presented. The DDM assimilation was applied to a global and a regional case.

In the global case, DDM observations from the NASA Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System (CYGNSS) mission are assimilated into global ocean surface wind analyses using the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) 10-meter winds as the background. The wind analyses are improved as a result of the DDM assimilation. VAM can also be used to derive a new type of wind vector observation from DDMs (VAM-DDM).

In the regional case, an observing system experiment (OSE) is used to quantify the impact of VAM-DDM wind vectors from CYGNSS on hurricane forecasts, in the case of Hurricane Michael (2018). It is found that the assimilation of VAM-DDM wind vectors at the early stage of the hurricane improves the forecasted track and intensity.

The research of this dissertation implies potential benefits of DDM assimilation for future research and operational applications.


NASA Grant NNX15AU18G, “Assimilation of GNSS-R Delay-Doppler Maps into Hurricane Models”

EUMETSAT OSI SAF Visiting Scientist Program, "GNSS-R Processing and NWP Assimilation"


Degree Type

  • Doctor of Philosophy


  • Aeronautics and Astronautics

Campus location

  • West Lafayette

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

James L. Garrison

Additional Committee Member 2

Robin L. Tanamachi

Additional Committee Member 3

Arthur E. Frazho

Additional Committee Member 4

Dengfeng Sun

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