Dielectric and Radiative Properties of Sea Foam at Microwave Frequencies: Conceptual Understanding of Foam Emissivity

Magdalena D. Anguelova, Peter W. Gaiser
2012 Remote Sensing  
Foam fraction can be retrieved from space-based microwave radiometric data at frequencies from 1 to 37 GHz. The retrievals require modeling of ocean surface emissivity fully covered with sea foam. To model foam emissivity well, knowledge of foam properties, both mechanical and dielectric, is necessary because these control the radiative processes in foam. We present a physical description of foam dielectric properties obtained from the foam dielectric constant including foam skin depth; foam
more » ... skin depth; foam impedance; wavelength variations in foam thickness, roughness of foam layer interfaces with air and seawater; and foam scattering parameters such as size parameter, and refraction index. Using these, we analyze the scattering, absorption, reflection and transmission in foam and gain insights into why volume scattering in foam is weak; why the main absorption losses are confined to the wet portion of the foam; how the foam impedance matching provides the transmission of electromagnetic radiation in foam and maximizes the absorption; and what is the potential for surface scattering at the foam layers boundaries. We put all these elements together and offer a conceptual understanding for the high, black-body-like emissivity of foam floating on the sea surface. We also consider possible scattering regimes in foam. Public reporting burden for the collection of information is estimated to average 1 hour per response, including the time for reviewing instructions, searching existing data sources, gathering and maintaining the data needed, and completing and reviewing the collection of information. Send comments regarding this burden estimate or any other aspect of this collection of information, including suggestions for reducing this burden, to Washington Headquarters Services, Directorate for Information Operations and Reports, 1215 Jefferson Davis Highway, Suite 1204, Arlington VA 22202-4302. Respondents should be aware that notwithstanding any other provision of law, no person shall be subject to a penalty for failing to comply with a collection of information if it does not display a currently valid OMB control number.
doi:10.3390/rs4051162 fatcat:vomx7opy2balbmyjpdf6u4p4yq