Abstract

We develop a computationally fast radiative transfer model for simulating the fluctuations of the underwater downwelling irradiance Ed at near-surface depths, which occur due to focusing of sunlight by wind-driven surface waves. The model is based on the hybrid matrix operator–Monte Carlo method, which was specifically designed for simulating radiative transfer in a coupled atmosphere–surface–ocean system involving a dynamic ocean surface. In the current version of the model, we use a simplified description of surface waves, which accounts for surface slope statistics, but not surface wave elevation, as a direct source of underwater light fluctuations. We compare the model results with measurements made in the Santa Barbara Channel. The model-simulated and measured time series of Ed(t) show remarkable similarity. Major features of the probability distribution of instantaneous irradiance, the frequency content of irradiance fluctuations, and the statistical properties of light flashes produced by wave focusing are also generally consistent between the model simulations and measurements for a few near-surface depths and light wavelengths examined. Despite the simplification in the representation of surface waves, this model provides a reasonable first-order approximation to modeling the wave focusing effects at near-surface depths, which require high temporal and spatial resolution (of the order of 1ms and 1mm, respectively) to be adequately resolved.

© 2010 Optical Society of America

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