• ocean field study;
  • radar backscattering modeling;
  • remote sensing;
  • sea surface;
  • short wind waves;
  • stereo photography

[1] We propose a methodology to extract short-scale statistical characteristics of the sea surface topography by means of stereo image reconstruction. The possibilities and limitations of the technique are discussed and tested on a data set acquired from an oceanographic platform at the Black Sea. A validation is made with simultaneous in situ measurements as well as results from the literature. We show that one- and two-point properties of the short-scale roughness can be well estimated without resorting to an interpolation procedure or an underlying surface model. We obtain the first cumulants of the probability distribution of small-scale elevations and slopes as well as related structure functions. We derive an empirical parametrization for the skewness function that is of primary importance in analytical scattering models from the sea surface.