Abstract

The effects of ocean waves on lidar imaging of submerged objects are investigated. Two significant consequences of wave focusing or defocusing are quantified: (a) intensification of near-surface backscatter in which the mean return is increased relative to that for a flat interface, and (b) spatial–temporal modulations of the backscattered return. For the former, mean returns can be as much as 50% larger than flat surface returns at shallow depth. For the latter, the strong modulations induced by wave motion present a dominant clutter field that significantly affects the imaging of shallow objects. Both effects are compensated at greater depths by beam spreading caused by multiple scattering, which diminishes the intensity of the wave focusing.

© 1996 Optical Society of America

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