Remote sensing of sea state using laser altimeters

B. M. Tsai, C. S. Gardner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The reflection of short laser pulses from the ocean surface is analyzed based on the specular point theory of scattering. The expressions for the averaged received signal, shot noise, and speckle-induced noise are derived for a direct detection receiver system. It is found that the reflected laser pulses have an average shape which is closely related to the probability density function associated with the ocean surface profile. The result is used to estimate the mean sea level and significant wave height from temporal moments of the reflected laser pulse.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3932-3940
Number of pages9
JournalApplied Optics
Issue number21
StatePublished - Nov 1982

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Engineering (miscellaneous)
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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