Study of the Origins of the Sigma-0 Blooms
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The TOPEX/POSEIDON Project is a joint U.S. and French mission to develop and operate an Earth orbiting satellite capable of making accurate measurements of the mean sea level in a way that allows the study of ocean dynamics. The understanding of ocean dynamics is very important in order to study events such as El Nino. Soon after the launch of the TOPEX satellite, some unusually high, but localized, values of the ocean's radar cross section, sigma-0, were observed by scientists at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. These phenomena have been referred to as sigma-0 blooms, and are accompanied by an increase in noise in the significant wave height (SWH) and altitude measurements. Since approximately 5% of all data recorded by the satellite contains sigma-0 blooms, it is important to understand their causes so that corrective measures can be taken by NASA. This thesis investigates two possible origins of the sigma-0 blooms: a surface containing a step discontinuity in sigma-0, and a surface containing slick or calm areas. Models corresponding to the theoretical returns from these two types of surfaces are developed and studied.
- Masters Theses