Synthetic Aperture Radar of the Sea Surface: Modelling and Image Analysis

Abstract : This Special Session is intended to group together several high-quality contributions on methodologies for the characterization, simulation, and analysis of SAR images of the sea surface. The accurate characterization of sea surface conditions is not only important in isolation, but can also help in the detection and characterization of ships and ship wakes. The latter provide key information for tracking vessels and are also useful in classifying the characteristics of the wake generating vessel. Sea-ice classification or oil slick detection in high-resolution SAR images of oceans are equally challenging and interesting tasks. Until recently, one of the main factors hampering research into sea surface modelling was the lack of data of sufficiently high resolution (pixels need to be typically smaller than few meters) and accuracy. Remote-sensing technologies have however shown remarkable progress in recent years and the availability of remotely sensed data of the Earth and sea surface is continuously growing. Several European missions (e.g., the Italian COSMO/SkyMed, the German TerraSAR-X, or more recently the UK NovaSAR) have developed a new generation of satellites exploiting synthetic aperture radar (SAR) to provide spatial resolutions previously unavailable from space-borne remote sensing. This represents a milestone for ocean-monitoring capabilities but also requires the development of novel image modelling, analysis, and processing techniques, able to cope with this new generation of data and to optimally exploit them for information-extraction purposes.


Alin M. Achim
University of Bristol