Skip to Main Content
Aerial photography can be an important source of information regarding surface waves and oceanic features that affect the propagation of these waves. This correspondence briefly reviews the parameters involved in aerial photography of coherent trains of surface waves, including the effects of water reflectance, waves, and sun and cloud conditions, on wave imaging in aerial photos. It also describes an analytical model of the specular reflection of sunlight by surface waves, together with experimental results from an outdoor wave facility. Analytical expressions are derived for the accuracy of wavelength measurements using aerial photos of waves in the glitter pattern. Further, it treats wave slope determination from aerial photos of idealized waves and presents experimental results from an outdoor wave facility. The application of remote synoptic surface flow determination by imaging of surface waves is briefly discussed.