Time-averaged intensities are computed for the glitter pattern of sunlight on a wind-ruffled sea. Isopleths are drawn from these on graphs which simulate glitter-pattern photographs through projections of sea-surface grid points on an inclined plane assumed to be in front of the observer. The intensity computed for each grid point is based on a calculation of the wave-surface orientation required for direct reflection from source to observer at that point; the probability of occurrence of this orientation, determined from the Cox-Munk distribution, is the principal factor in the computed intensity. The curvature of the earth is taken into account, and calculations are made for various cases of source elevation angle, observer altitude, and wind speed (the controlling parameter for the distribution of wave inclinations). Percent polarization is computed for the glitter patterns, and projected isopleths of this quantity are plotted. The effects of variations in wind speed, source elevation angle, and observer height on the morphology of the glitter pattern are shown, and such phenomena as the shifting of a reflected image toward the horizon are clearly demonstrated. It is suggested that the technique developed here could be useful in evaluating models of ocean wave structure and in making remote determinations of the sea state in the region of the glitter pattern.
© 1977 Optical Society of America
Original Manuscript: June 26, 1976
Published: March 1, 1977
Gilbert N. Plass, George W. Kattawar, and John A. Guinn, "Isophotes of sunlight glitter on a wind-ruffled sea," Appl. Opt. 16, 643-653 (1977)