On the applicability of satellite-borne SAR imagery to coastal oceanography
Synthetic aperture radar (SAR) images have been acquired from the first European Space Agency (ESA) remote sensing satellite ERS- 1. The mesoscale feature images are from Norwegian coastal waters and the Mediterranean (Elba and Sicily areas). Theories are tested for their ability to explain the observed variability of the radar-cross section. By means of empirical models, developed for the ERS-I scatterometer, wind speeds are extracted from the SAR images and compared with measured data. Theories of SAR imaging and boundary-layer stability are applied to investigating the imaging of thermal fronts. The possibility of determining surface-current variability from SAR images is emphasized. The theoretical approach is based on the modulation of small-scale scattering waves by underlying currents.