About this MEaSUREs-Funded Project

Ocean surface winds are one of the key components of the Earth system. By using Scatterometer observations, we can understand the effect of ocean surface winds on ocean circulation and on the air-sea interactions that fuel weather systems.

Understanding these interactions is critical for improving weather forecasting — from isolated storms to organized squalls, and from hurricanes to seasonal and intraseasonal phenomena such as El Niño and monsoon rains. Indeed, operational meteorologists have grown accustomed to make their forecast of hurricane formation and evolution based on scatterometer wind estimates.


Scatterometers bounce pulses of microwave energy off the ocean surface. The returned energy gives us information on the size and orientation of waves, which change depending on wind speed and direction. Scatterometer data helps us monitor surface wind around the world’s oceans.

Scatterometer missions can be broadly classified in two categories, defined by the electromagnetic frequency used and the scanning strategy. Different frequencies have different sensitivities to atmospheric parameters like rain, and to ocean surface parameters like sea surface temperature and wind speed.

Data Products

Data Portals

Through use of consistent records, MEaSUREs expands understanding of the Earth system by linking multiple satellites into a constellation and by facilitating use of data in developing comprehensive Earth system models.

Worldwide Ocean Wind (WOW) Portal

Dedicated to the visualization and online analysis of the ocean surface winds as observed by a number of scatterometers since 2014. The WOW portal will be augmented to include the entire data record of scatterometer winds, stress sand spatial derivatives, starting in 1999.

More Portals