A Comparison of SIR-B Directional Ocean Wave Spectra with Aircraft Scanning Radar Spectra

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Science  20 Jun 1986:
Vol. 232, Issue 4757, pp. 1531-1535
DOI: 10.1126/science.232.4757.1531


Directional ocean wave spectra derived from Shuttle Imaging Radar-B (SIR-B) L-band imagery collected off the coast of southern Chile on 11 and 12 October 1984 were compared with independent spectral estimates from two airborne scanning radars. In sea states with significant wave heights ranging from 3 to 5 meters, the SIR-B-derived spectra at 18° and 25° off nadir yielded reasonable estimates of wavelengths, directions, and spectral shapes for all wave systems encountered, including a purely azimuth-traveling system. A SIR-B image intensity variance spectrum containing predominantly range-traveling waves closely resembles an independent aircraft estimate of the slope variance spectrum. The prediction of a U.S. Navy global spectral ocean wave model on 11 October 1984 exhibited no significant bias in dominant wave number but contained a directional bias of about 30°espect to the mean of the aircraft and spacecraft estimates.