The newly certified RADARSAT-1 network station--the University of Miami's Center for Southeastern Tropical Advanced Remote Sensing (CSTARS)--is using RADARSAT-1 data to locate, track and predict the intensity of tropical storms (hurricanes) as they develop over the Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico and western tropical Atlantic Ocean.

Using the ocean surface wind speed and direction information extracted from the RADARSAT-1 data, the scientists at CSTARS are dramatically improving the accuracy of weather analysis and tropical storm forecasting.

Equipped with advanced RADARSAT-1 data reception and near-real-time processing capabilities, the station provides scientists with data within 30 minutes of reception -a capability that is crucial for hurricane forecasting work.

Researchers at CSTARS are also involved in several other initiatives that use RADARSAT-1 data. These include water level, environmental and volcanic monitoring.

CSTARS is monitoring the movement of active volcano craters in Central America and the Caribbean. One of the precursors to a volcanic eruption is ground deformation and displacement - typically subsidence (sinking of the land). Scientists will use RADARSAT-1 data to detect and measure minute vertical movements (of the order of mm) at the crater surface using a data technique called INSAR. By monitoring this area with RADARSAT-1, CSTARS can quickly assess danger and alert emergency crews in the event of imminent volcanic activity.

Source: RSI, June 10, 2004