When Osborne and Burch  reported their observations of large-amplitude, long internal waves in the Andaman Sea that conform with theoretical results from the physics of nonlinear waves, a new research field on ocean waves was immediately set out. They described their findings in the frame of shallow-water solitary waves governed by the K-dV equation, which occur because of a balance between nonlinear cohesive and linear dispersive forces in a fluid. It was concluded that the internal waves in the Andaman Sea were solitons and that they evolved either from an initial waveform (over approximately constant water depth) or by a fission process (over variable water depth). Since then, there has been a great deal of progress in our understanding of Internal Solitary Waves (ISWs), or solitons in the ocean, particularly making use of satellite Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) systems. While two layer models such as those used by Osborne and Burch allow for propagation of fundamental mode (i.e. mode-1) ISWs, continuous stratification permits the existence of higher mode internal waves. It happens that the Andaman Sea stratification is characterized by two (or more) maxima in the vertical profile of the buoyancy frequency N(z), i.e. a double pycnocline, hence prone to the existence of mode-2 (or higher) internal waves. In this paper we report solitary-like internal waves with mode-2 vertical structure co-existing with the large well know mode-1 solitons. The mode-2 waves are identified in satellite SAR images (e.g. TerraSAR-X, Envisat, etc.) because of their distinct surface signature. While the SAR image intensity of mode-1 waves is characterized by bright, enhanced backscatter preceding dark reduced backscatter along the nonlinear internal wave propagation direction (in agreement with Alpers, 1985), for mode-2 solitary wave structures, the polarity of the SAR signature is reversed and thus a dark reduced backscatter crest precedes a bright, enhanced backscatter feature in the propagation direction of the wave. The polarity of these mode-2 signatures changes because the location of the surface convergent and divergent zones is reversed in relation to mode-1 ISWs. Mode-2 ISWs are identified in many locations of the Andaman Sea, but here we focus on ISWs along the Ten Degree Channel which occur along-side large mode-1 ISWs. We discuss possible generation locations and mechanisms for both mode-1 and mode-2 ISWs along this stretch of the Andaman Sea, recurring to modeling of the ray pathways of internal tidal energy propagation, and the P. G. Baines barotropic body force, which drives the generation of internal tides near the shallow water areas between the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. We consider three possible explanations for mode-2 solitary wave generation in the Andaman Sea: (1) impingement of an internal tidal beam on the pycnocline, itself emanating from critical bathymetry; (2) nonlinear disintegration of internal tide modes; (3) the lee wave forming mechanism to the west of a ridge during westward tidal flow out of the Andaman Sea (as originally proposed by Osborne and Burch for mode-1 ISWs). SAR evidence is of critical importance for examining those generation mechanisms.
It is well known that Internal Waves of tidal frequency (i.e. Internal Tides) are successfully detected in seasurface height (SSH) by satellite altimetry . Shorter period Internal Solitary Waves (ISWs), whose periods are an order of magnitude smaller than tidal internal waves, are however generally assumed too small to be detected with standard altimeters (at low sampling rates, i.e. 1 Hz). This is because the Radar Altimeter (RA) footprint is somewhat larger, or of similar size at best, than the ISWs typical wavelengths. Here it will be demonstrated that new generation high sampling rate satellite altimetry data (i.e. ~20 Hz) hold a variety of short-period signatures that are consistent with surface manifestations of ISWs in the ocean. Our observational method is based on satellite synergy with imaging sensors such as Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) and other high-resolution optical sensors (e.g. 250m resolution MODIS images) with which ISWs are unambiguously recognized. A first order commonly accepted ISW radar imaging mechanism is based on hydrodynamic modulation models   in which the straining of surface waves due to ISW orbital currents is known to cause modulation of decimeter-scale surface waves, which have group velocities close to the IW phase velocity. This effect can be readily demonstrated by measurements of wind wave slope variances associated with short-period ISWs, as accomplished in the pioneer work of Hughes and Grant . Mean square slope can be estimated from nadir looking RAs using a geometric optics (specular) scattering model , and directly obtained from normalized backscatter (sigma0) along-track records. We use differential scattering from the dual-band (Ku- and C-bands) microwave pulses of the Jason- 2 high-rate RA to isolate the contribution of small-scale surface waves to mean square slope. The differenced altimeter mean square slope estimate, derived for the nominal wave number range 40–100 rad/m, is then used to detect ISWs in records of along-track high sampling rate RAs. The RA signatures of these ISWs are also apparent in radar backscattered pulse waveforms from the original Sensor Geophysical Data Records (SGDR), in high resolution (20-Hz) data. The shape of these waveforms is modified by the ISWs with respect to waveforms unperturbed by short-period internal waves. Hence, a new method for identification of ISWs in high-rate RA records that combines along-track differenced mean square slopes across ISW crests and waveform shape variation is put forward in this paper. Validation of the method is warranted with quasi-coincident (in time and space) SAR images of ISWs in various deep ocean regions, such as the Andaman Sea, the Mascarene Ridge of the Indian Ocean and the North Atlantic tropical ocean. The practical significance of this new method is related to the anticipated SWOT wide-swath altimeter mission as well as the recently launched Sentinel-3A SARAL, for which removal of internal wave signals may be of critical importance for observing other high-frequency sub-mesoscale dynamics.
Retrieving the water-leaving reflectance from airborne hyperspectral data implies to deal with three steps. Firstly, the radiance recorded by an airborne sensor comes from several sources: the real radiance of the object, the atmospheric scattering, sky and sun glint and the dark current of the sensor. Secondly, the dispersive element inside the sensor (usually a diffraction grating or a prism) could move during the flight, thus shifting the observed spectra on the wavelengths axis. Thirdly, to compute the reflectance, it is necessary to estimate, for each band, what value of irradiance corresponds to a 100% reflectance. We present here our calibration method, relying on the absorption features of the atmosphere and the near-infrared properties of common materials. By choosing proper flight height and flight lines angle, we can ignore atmospheric and sun glint contributions. Autocorrelation plots allow to identify and reduce the noise in our signals. Then, we compute a signal that represents the high frequencies of the spectrum, to localize the atmospheric absorption peaks (mainly the dioxygen peak around 760 nm). Matching these peaks removes the shift induced by the moving dispersive element. Finally, we use the signal collected over a Lambertian, unit-reflectance surface to estimate the ratio of the system's transmittances to its near-infrared transmittance. This transmittance is computed assuming an average 50% reflectance of the vegetation and nearly 0% for water in the near-infrared. Results show great correlation between the output spectra and ground measurements from a TriOS Ramses and the water-insight WISP-3.
Marine slicks are one of the most common features on the sea surface and a significant part of the slicks is a result of accidental or deliberate oil spills. The shape of oil slicks is their important characteristic that can be used to identify the nature of slick signatures in radar or optical images of the sea surface and possibly to describe them quantitatively. Nowadays, however, there is a lack of systematic experiments with slicks, and the very physical mechanisms of slick spreading are still not well understood. This paper presents results of controlled experiments with spills of surfactants, and a possible physical mechanism of slick asymmetry is discussed. Experiments with artificial film slicks were carried out in different environmental conditions: from an Oceanographic Platform on the Black Sea, and from a vessel on the Gorky Water Reservoir. Slick shape and its evolution were studied using photographic methods, and satellite radar imagery. In the satellite experiments surfactants were poured on the surface at certain time intervals before the satellite overpass. It is obtained that film spreading is not axial symmetric, and the spills are stretched along the wind, a long-to-short slick axis ratio weakly depends on spreading time and grows with wind speed. A physical mechanism of slick deformation due to mean surface currents induced by wind waves is proposed. Namely, drift currents induced by oblique propagating surface waves increase in film slicks due to enhanced wave damping and these currents result in reduced spreading rate in the cross wind direction. Theoretical analysis of slick spreading accounting for the effect of surface waves is presented, and theoretical estimates are shown to be consistent with experiment.
Results of field experiments on radar imaging of surfactant films using satellite SAR (TerraSAR-X) co-located with Xband
and Ka-band radar (scatterometer) measurements are described and analyzed. The experiments were performed using surfactant films with pre-measured physical parameters, the surface tension and the film elasticity, at low to moderate wind and at different radar incidence angles. Contrasts characterizing depression of radar backscatter in slicks have been obtained. Theoretical analysis of radar contrasts for low-to-moderate incidence angles has been carried out based on a hydrodynamic model of wind wave damping due to films and on a composite radar imaging model. The
hydrodynamic model takes into account wave damping due to viscoelastic films, wind wave generation and a phenomenological term describing nonlinear limitation of the wind wave spectrum. The radar model takes into account Bragg scattering and specular scattering, the latter is usually negligible compared to the Bragg effect at moderate incidence angles (larger than 30-35 degrees), but is obtained to give noticeable contribution to radar backscattering at smaller incidence angles particularly for slick areas when cm-scale ripples is strongly depressed by films. Theoretical calculations of radar contrasts in slicks are compared with experiment.