Ocean wave slope and height retrieval using airborne polarimetric remote sensing
Van Keuren, Edward
Ocean wave heights are typically measured at select geographic locations using in situ ocean buoys. This dissertation has developed a technique to remotely measure wave heights using imagery collected from a polarimetric camera system mounted on an airborne platform, enabling measurements over large areas and in regions devoid of wave buoys. The technique exploits the polarization properties of Fresnel reflectivity at the ocean surface to calculate wave slopes. Integrating the slope field produces a measurement of significant wave height. In this dissertation, I present experimental data collection and analysis of airborne remotely sensed polarimetric imagery collected over the ocean using Areté Associates' Airborne Remote Optical Spotlight System-MultiSpectral Polarimeter, as well as modeled results of the expected radiance and polarization at the sensor. The modeling incorporates two sources of radiance/polarization: surface reflected sky radiance and scattered path radiance. The latter accounts for a significant portion of the total radiance and strongly affects the polarization state measured at the sensor. After laying the groundwork, I describe my significant wave height retrieval algorithm, apply it to the polarimetric data, and present the results. While further development and refinement of the significant wave height retrieval algorithm and testing with a more extensive data set are required, the initial results are promising for the practical application of this technique.
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