Skip to Main Content
We present the implementation of a facet-based simulator to investigate the forward scattering of L-band signals from realistic sea surfaces and its application to spaceborne ocean Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) Reflectometry. This approach provides a new flexible tool to assess the influence of the ocean surface roughness on scattered GNSS signals. The motivation stems from the study by Clarizia , which revealed significant differences between delay-Doppler maps (DDMs) obtained from UK-DMC satellite data and DDMs simulated with the Zavorotny-Voronovich (Z-V) model. Here, the scattered power and polarization ratio (PR) are computed for explicit 3-D ocean wave fields, using a novel implementation of the Kirchhoff approximation (KA), which we call the Facet Approach (FA). We find that the FA is consistent with the full KA and the Geometrical Optics (GO) used in the Z-V model, while being less computationally expensive than the KA and able to represent polarization effects not captured by the GO. Instantaneous maps of the bistatic normalized radar cross section computed with the FA show clear patterns associated with the underlying waves. The wave field is particularly visible in the PR, indicating that the scattering is generally dominated by the HH component, particularly from ocean wave troughs. Polarization effects show, for the first time, a strong correlation to the explicit sea surface from which the scattering originated. DDMs of the scattered power computed with the FA reveal patchy patterns and power distributions that differ from those obtained with Z-V and show closer similarities with observed DDMs from UK-DMC.