Geophysical Research Letters

On the detectability of internal waves by an imaging lidar

Authors


Abstract

[1] The first results of a multisensor airborne survey conducted off the western Iberian Coast are presented (including visible, lidar, and infrared imagery) and reveal the presence of internal solitary waves (ISWs) propagating into the nearshore region. For the first time, two-dimensional lidar imagery is shown to detect the presence of ISWs, and the results are interpreted in a more comprehensive framework provided by the remaining instrumentation. Sea surface roughness patterns, resulting from the ISWs, are found to be imaged in the lidar data, where specular reflection causes slicks to appear as areas of significantly reduced backscatter. Moreover, the lidar data reveal an unprecedented view into the ISW surface and subsurface structures. Possible interpretations are discussed based on the accumulation of surfactants and air bubble entrainment at the leading edge of the ISWs (where maximum convergence occurs).