Determination of internal wave properties from X-Band radar observations

Rafael J. Ramos, Björn Lund, Hans C. Graber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


The application of nautical X-Band radars to measure internal wave (IW) properties is investigated. A methodology based on the use of Radon transform (RT) techniques to detect internal wave related features from backscatter image sequences is introduced to compute properties such as direction of propagation, non-linear velocity (c0), distance between solitons (Lcc) and number of solitons per packet. The proposed methodology was applied to several events recorded by a ship-mounted X-Band radar system (WaMoS) during the NLIWI experiment in 2006. Results from the comparisons to simultaneous measurements taken at neighboring oceanographic moorings indicated that c0 can be estimated with a RMS error of 0.06 m s-1, which corresponds to a mean relative error of -1.4%. Similarly, Lcc can be estimated with a RMS error of 98 m, which is associated with a mean relative error of 14.6%. This latter error estimate however is likely to be overestimated, because it reflects strongly the separation between sampling stations as Lcc was shown to be highly dependent on propagation distance. The accuracy of the results shows that X-Band systems are well suited to measure internal wave properties offering some advantages over SAR and other in situ devices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1039-1047
Number of pages9
JournalOcean Engineering
Issue number14
StatePublished - Oct 1 2009


  • Image processing
  • Internal waves
  • Radon transform
  • Remote sensing
  • X-Band radar

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Ocean Engineering


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