Analysis of internal wave signatures in marine radar data

Bjorn Lund, Hans C. Graber, Jingshuang Xue, Roland Romeiser

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Satellite images have long been used to study surface manifestations of internal waves (IWs). More recently, marine X-band radar data have been employed to retrieve IW packet parameters. Marine radars have the advantage over satellite systems that their high temporal resolution enables the study of the IW evolution. Until today, no method to automatically detect IW surface signatures in marine radar data has been suggested. In this paper, we present a new fully automated tool to retrieve IW signatures from marine radar image sequences. First, after various preprocessing steps, the IW packet velocity is determined using a combination of localized Radon transform and cross-correlation techniques. Temporal averaging of the marine radar data significantly enhances the IW signatures. The knowledge of the IW packet velocity is used to correct for the IW motion, enabling us to extend the averaging period, which further enhances the IW signal. An IW-motion correction is necessary because, otherwise, the IW signal would become smeared if the averaging period were much longer than the time it takes the IW to propagate between radar resolution cells. The IW-enhanced images are then utilized for the IW signature analysis. Here, we identify local backscatter peaks and exploit the marine radar's high temporal resolution to distinguish signal from noise. The resulting series of IW soliton maps provides information on changes in soliton wavelength, velocity, and backscatter intensity. Our marine radar IW signature analysis tool therefore offers a great opportunity of studying the spatiotemporal evolution of IWs as they grow and decay.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number6450084
Pages (from-to)4840-4852
Number of pages13
JournalIEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing
Issue number9
StatePublished - Feb 8 2013


  • Internal waves (IWs)
  • localized Radon transform
  • marine radar
  • sea surface
  • signal analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Analysis of internal wave signatures in marine radar data'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this