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Sea Surface Manifestation of Along-Tidal-Channel Underwater Ridges Imaged by SAR

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4 Author(s)
Xiaofeng Li ; NOAA/Nat. Environ. Satellite, Data, & Inf. Service, I.M. Systems Group, Inc., Camp Springs, MD, USA ; Chunyan Li ; Qing Xu ; Pichel, W.G.

A group of submerged ocean bottom sand ridges in the Bohai Sea, China, are shown in RADARSAT-1 and ENVISAT synthetic aperture radar (SAR) images. The sand ridges appear as fingerlike quasi-linear features in the SAR images. Examining the detailed local bathymetry chart, we find that these features coincide with the satellite images. The heights of the sand ridges are less than 10 m, and the water depth is between 10 and 30 m. The spacing of the sand ridges is about 10 km, and the length of the sand ridges is about 20 km. The same sand ridges are also visible on a Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) true-color image. The semidiurnal and diurnal tidal currents in this area are almost parallel to the major axis of these sand ridges. These observations cannot be explained using the existing 1-D SAR imaging model, which is not applicable to sand ridges parallel to the tidal current. In this paper, we consider the shallow-water current bathymetry in a 2-D space. An analytical ocean model was applied to demonstrate the temporal variations of the current divergence and convergence that are induced by the along-sand-ridge-direction current and ridge interaction. A radar simulation model is used to simulate the variation of normalized radar cross section (NRCS) induced by the ocean surface current. The simulated NRCS variation is similar to that extracted from the calibrated SAR image. Simulation results also show that the NRCS variation becomes negligible when the ocean current is set to about half of the maximum tidal current.

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Geoscience and Remote Sensing, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:47 ,  Issue: 8 )