Abstract

A statistical sea surface specular BRDF (bidirectional reflectance distribution function) model is developed that includes mutual shadowing by waves, wave facet hiding, and projection weighting. The integral form of the model is reduced to an analytical form by making minor and justifiable approximations. The new form of the BRDF thus allows one to compute sea reflected radiance more than 100 times faster than the traditional numerical solutions. The repercussions of the approximations used in the model are discussed. Using the analytical form of the BRDF, an analytical approximation is also obtained for the reflected sun radiance that is always good to within 1% of the numerical solution for sun elevations of more than 10° above the horizon. The model is validated against measured sea radiances found in the literature and is shown to be in very good agreement.

© 2005 Optical Society of America

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