Measuring ocean surface winds from space
QuikSCAT’s primary instrument, a specialized microwave radar called SeaWinds, measured near-surface wind speed and direction under all weather and cloud conditions over Earth’s oceans. The SeaWinds scatterometer provided wind-speed measurements over approximately 90 percent of the Earth’s oceans every day.
Ocean surface wind data is used in numerical weather- and wave-prediction models, increasing the accuracy of weather forecasts near coastlines and improving storm warning and monitoring. Data from QuikSCAT contributed to weather forecasts, climate and oceanographic research, land and sea ice studies and more.
What We Did
Instrument and spacecraft provider
To mitigate the data gap between the NASA Scatterometer and QuikSCAT, the QuikSCAT spacecraft was built in 12 months and designed for a three-year mission. The mission lasted for over ten years before the antenna stopped rotating in November 2009. Limited science operations were continued until October 2018 when QuikSCAT was decommissioned. Mission operations for QuikSCAT were led by students and professionals from the University of Colorado (LASP).
Smaller Technology. High-Quality Data.