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Remote Sensing of Internal Waves in the Mid-Atlantic Bight

Michael Caruso(1), Neil Williams(1), Bjorn Lund(1), Rafael Ramos(1) and Hans Graber(1)

(1) CSTARS-University of Miami, 11811 SW 168 Street, Miami, FL 33177, United States


Both satellite synthetic aperture radar (SAR) and electro-optical (EO) sensors image internal waves on the ocean surface. From July through September 2006, both EO and SAR imagery were collected from the SpotImage satellites, Radarsat-1 and the European Space Agency (ESA) European Remote Sensing Satellite (ERS-2) and Envisat-1 ASAR satellites. The ERS-2 satellite is following Envisat-1 in a nearly identical orbit and within an interval of about 30 minutes. Often evening passes by RadarSat preceded an ERS-2 and ENVISAT pair before midnight and then was followed by an early morning RadarSat pass. This combination of satellite observations provided good temporal coverage allowing to track internal waves as they propagated up the shelf.

Two ships, the RV KNORR and RV OCEANUS were equipped with a WaMoS (wave monitoring) marine X-band radar system that collected continuously backscatter data of the ocean surface for each antenna sweep. WaMoS also observed routinely internal waves and the data will be useful to characterize the wavelength, number of solitons and propagation speed.

The satellite and ship-based radar observations were complemented by several environmental moorings that measured near-surface and wave properties perpendicular to the bathymetry and will be used to calibrate the radar backscatter measurements.

The data will show persistent and repeated presence of internal waves packets parallel to the 100 m isobath. The images also showed refraction of internal waves over the shallower bathymetry and more complicated patterns arising from wave-wave type interactions and reflections.


Keywords: ESA European Space Agency - Agence spatiale europeenne, observation de la terre, earth observation, satellite remote sensing, teledetection, geophysique, altimetrie, radar, chimique atmospherique, geophysics, altimetry, radar, atmospheric chemistry