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Applied Optics

Applied Optics


  • Editor: Joseph N. Mait
  • Vol. 51, Iss. 14 — May. 10, 2012
  • pp: 2678–2686

Optical turbulence on underwater image degradation in natural environments

Weilin Hou, Sarah Woods, Ewa Jarosz, Wesley Goode, and Alan Weidemann  »View Author Affiliations

Applied Optics, Vol. 51, Issue 14, pp. 2678-2686 (2012)

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It is a well-known fact that the major degradation source on electro-optical imaging underwater is from scattering by particles of various origins and sizes. Recent research indicates that, under certain conditions, the apparent degradation could also be caused by the variations of index of refraction associated with temperature and salinity microstructures in the ocean and lakes. The combined impact has been modeled previously through the simple underwater imaging model. The current study presents the first attempts in quantifying the level of image degradation due to optical turbulence in natural waters in terms of modulation transfer functions using measured turbulence dissipation rates. Image data collected from natural environments during the Skaneateles Optical Turbulence Exercise are presented. Accurate assessments of the turbulence conditions are critical to the model validation and were measured by two instruments to ensure consistency and accuracy. Optical properties of the water column in the field were also measured in coordination with temperature, conductivity, and depth. The results show that optical turbulence degrades the image quality as predicted and on a level comparable to that caused by the particle scattering just above the thermocline. Other contributing elements involving model closure, including temporal and spatial measurement scale differences among sensors and mitigation efforts, are discussed.

OCIS Codes
(010.4450) Atmospheric and oceanic optics : Oceanic optics
(010.7060) Atmospheric and oceanic optics : Turbulence
(010.7295) Atmospheric and oceanic optics : Visibility and imaging

ToC Category:
Atmospheric and Oceanic Optics

Original Manuscript: October 12, 2011
Revised Manuscript: February 1, 2012
Manuscript Accepted: March 4, 2012
Published: May 10, 2012

Virtual Issues
Vol. 7, Iss. 7 Virtual Journal for Biomedical Optics

Weilin Hou, Sarah Woods, Ewa Jarosz, Wesley Goode, and Alan Weidemann, "Optical turbulence on underwater image degradation in natural environments," Appl. Opt. 51, 2678-2686 (2012)

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