Boundary-Layer Meteorology

, Volume 13, Issue 1, pp 61–85

Theories for the interaction of electromagnetic and oceanic waves — A review


  • Gaspar R. Valenzuela
    • Ocean Sciences DivisionNaval Research Laboratory

DOI: 10.1007/BF00913863

Cite this article as:
Valenzuela, G.R. Boundary-Layer Meteorol (1978) 13: 61. doi:10.1007/BF00913863


This paper reviews analytical methods in electromagnetic scattering theory (i.e., geometrical and physical optics, perturbation, iteration, and integral-equation) which are applicable to the problems of remote sensing of the ocean. In dealing with Earth's surface (in this case, the weakly non-linear ocean), it is not possible to have a complete and exact description of its spatial and temporal statistics. Only the first few moments are generally available; and in the linear approximation the statistics are assumed homogeneous, stationary and Gaussian. For this case, the high-frequency methods (geometrical and physical optics) and perturbation (Rayleigh-Rice), or a combination of them, provide tractable analytical results (i.e., the specular-point, the slightly-rough Bragg scattering and the composite-surface models). The applicability and limitations of these models are discussed. At grazing incidence and for higher frequencies, other scattering mechanisms become significant; and shadowing, diffraction and trapping must be considered.

The more exact methods (integral-equation and Green's function) have not been as successful in yielding tractable analytical solutions, although they have the potential to provide improved theoretical scattering results in the future.

Copyright information

© D. Reidel Publishing Company 1978