SAR Imaging Features of Shallow Water Bathymetry

Особенности проявления донной топографии на спутниковых РСА-изображениях

Type Article
Date 2020
Language English, Other
Author(s) Pivaev P. D.1, Kudryavtsev V. N.1, 2, Balashova E. A.1, Chapron Bertrand1, 3
Affiliation(s) 1 : Russian State Hydrometeorological University, Saint-Petersburg, Russia
2 : Marine Hydrophisical Institute, Russian Academy of Sciences, Sevastopol, Russia
3 : Institute Francais de Recherche pour I’Exploitation de la Mer, Plouzane, France
Source Physical Oceanography (0928-5105) (FSBSI MHI), 2020 , Vol. 27 , N. 3 , P. 290-304
DOI 10.22449/0233-7584-2020-3-313-328
Keyword(s) bottom topography, Sentinel-1, SAR, wave breaking, current divergence

Purpose. The aim of the article is to study manifestations of the underwater topography features in the northern part of the White Sea in the images made by the spaceborn synthetic aperture radars (SAR) Sentinel-1A, Sentinel-1B.

Methods and Results. In the SAR images, the bottom features are revealed as bright and dark brightness anomalies. The anomalies were observed at the wind speed ranging from 2.6 to 10.8 m/s, and became reverse (bright anomalies turned dark and vice versa), when a tidal current changed its direction. It is shown that the observed SAR imagery contrasts correlate to divergence of a current formed by interaction of a tidal flow with the bottom topography inhomogeneities. The simulated SAR contrasts agree with the observations, and confirm the relation between the observed SAR contrasts and the current divergence. Together with modeling the SAR contrasts, the contribution of different mechanisms to formation of the observed modulations of the normalized radar cross section was qualitatively estimated. The wave breaking effect was especially accentuated. The method for retrieving the underwater bottom topography based on the relationship between the bottom gradient and the SAR imagery contrasts is proposed.

Conclusions. Location of the bottom inhomogeneities in the shallow water region on the whole coincides with that of the tidal current divergence and convergence zones, which are observed as brightness anomalies in the SAR images. Breaking of surface waves is the main contributor to the observed SAR contrasts. The bottom topography reconstructed from the SAR contrasts, and the actual one resulted from the bathymetry maps are in good agreement. Some discrepancies are interpreted as possible changes in depth and shape of the bottom topography features induced by action of strong currents and waves.

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Pivaev P. D., Kudryavtsev V. N., Balashova E. A., Chapron Bertrand (2020). SAR Imaging Features of Shallow Water Bathymetry / Особенности проявления донной топографии на спутниковых РСА-изображениях. Physical Oceanography, 27(3), 290-304. Publisher's official version : , Open Access version :