In order to better understand the physics responsible for radar imaging of oceanographic submesoscale features, the Office of the Chief of Naval Research is sponsoring the High-Resolution Remote Sensing Program, an accelerated research initiative managed by Frank Herr and Chuck Luther at the Office of Naval Research and Richard Mied at the Naval Research Laboratory. This program includes the disciplines of remote sensing, oceanography, meteorology, and microlayer physics. The approach will be to conduct a field program of simultaneous radar and in-situ measurements and to conduct theoretical/modeling work to understand the feature generation, variability, and imaging physics.
Since the launch of SEASAT in 1978, there has been great interest in synthetic aperture radar (SAR) imaging of oceanographic features. For example, SEASAT SAR images clearly showed evidence of internal waves, current boundaries, fronts, eddies, and tidal flow over variable bathymetry (see SEASAT Special Issue I, J. Geophys. Res., 87, C5, 1982). Unfortunately, there was little or no in-situ data associated with most of these images, so there has been little validation of models that describe the imaging mechanism.