Dr. Christopher Zappa
Earth Institute Contact: Dr. Christopher Zappa
Infrared (IR) measurements have long been used in oceanography to determine the ocean’s surface temperature. Satellite IR measurements have been used to generate global maps of sea surface temperature while small-scale IR remote sensing measurements have been used to study upper-ocean process and to understand the mechanisms for air-sea interaction. However, much of what has been done utilizes only the basic properties for emission and reflection at a water surface based on the fresnel equations. Infrared radiance is inherently polarized and this polarization is dependent on viewing angle and wavelength of light. Exploiting the polarized behavior of light has implications for studies ranging from improving the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) in IR imagery to determining the instantaneous slope field at the ocean surface, which will have far-reaching impacts in air-sea interaction.
This project will involve a week of field experiments using a state-of-the-art IR camera that will be adapted to perform novel studies of polarization techniques. Initial studies will be performed from the roof of the Oceanography building looking out over the Hudson River at oblique angles to understand the effects of viewing angle on the polarized reflection and emission signals as well as on the SNR. Additionally, these oblique angle studies of the Hudson River will be used to determine flow patterns and calculate the local current vector fields using particle image velocimetry techniques. Follow-on studies will be performed at Piermont Pier to understand the effects of small-scale waves on the polarized emission and reflection and determine if it is possible to extract the slope field using polarization techniques.