SAR-Mode altimetry observations of internal solitary waves in the tropical ocean part 2: a method of detection

Santos-Ferreira, Adriana M.; da Silva, José C. B.; Srokosz, Meric. 2019 SAR-Mode altimetry observations of internal solitary waves in the tropical ocean part 2: a method of detection. Remote Sensing, 11 (11). 1339.

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It is demonstrated that the synthetic aperture radar altimeter (SRAL) on board of the Sentinel-3A can detect short-period internal solitary waves (ISWs) with scales of the order of a kilometer. A variety of signatures owing to the surface manifestations of the ISWs are apparent in the SRAL Level-2 products over the ocean. These signatures are identified in several geophysical parameters, such as radar backscatter ( σ0 ) and sea level anomaly (SLA). Radar backscatter is the primary parameter in which ISWs can be identified owing to the measurable sea surface roughness perturbations in the along-track direction resulting from the sharpened SRAL footprint. The SRAL footprint is sufficiently small (300 m in the along-track direction) to capture radar power fluctuations over successive wave crests and troughs, which produce rough and slick surface patterns arrayed in parallel bands with scales of a few kilometers along-track. Furthermore, it was possible to calculate the mean square slope ( s2¯¯¯ ) for the dual-band (Ku and C bands) altimeter of Sentinel-3, which made the ISW signatures unambiguously identified because of the large s2¯¯¯ variations in exact synergy with ocean and land color instrument (OLCI) images. Hence, the detection method is validated in cloud-free sun glint OLCI images. It is shown that both σ0 and SLA yield realistic estimates for routine observation of ISWs with the SRAL. The detection method that is used relies on the parameter s2¯¯¯ which is calculated from σ0 . This is a significant improvement from previous observations recently reported for conventional pulse-limited altimeters (Jason-2). An algorithm is developed to be used in any ocean region. Wavelets were applied for a first analysis of the s2¯¯¯ variations because ISWs can be readily identified in high-frequency signals. Other geophysical parameters such as SLA were used to exclude phenomena that are unlikely to be ISWs.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
ISSN: 2072-4292
Date made live: 07 Aug 2019 12:14 +0 (UTC)

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