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Polarization Characteristics of Coastal Waters and Their Impact on In-Water Visibility

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Polarization characteristics of coastal waters were recently measured during a cruise on the RV Connecticut in the areas of New York Harbor - Sandy Hook. N.J. region using a new Stokes vector instrument developed by the Optical Remote Sensing Laboratory at CCNY. The instrument has three hyperspectral Satlantic radiance sensors each with a polarizer positioned in front of it, with polarization axes aligned at 0, 90 and 45 degrees. The measured degrees of polarization DOPs and normalized radiances as a function of angle and wavelength match very well with simulated ones obtained with a Monte Carlo radiative transfer code for the atmosphere-ocean system. In order to numerically reproduce the polarized images for underwater horizontal imaging system the measured typical underwater polarized radiance was used to estimate the polarized components of the background veiling light and the blurring effects were modeled by point spread functions obtained from the measured volume scattering functions from this cruise and other typical oceanic environments. It is shown that the visibility can be improved for unpolarized target by placing a polarizer oriented orthogonally to the partially polarized direction of the veiling light before camera. The blurring effects strongly depend on the small angle scattering in the forward directions. For polarized targets the Monte Carlo simulation of slab geometry for polarized pencil light shows that the scattering medium with high g value has a very strong ability to retain the polarization status of the incident light, which can be utilized to improve the image contrasts for targets with very different polarized reflection properties.

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  • Target Direction, Range and Position Finding
  • Optics
  • Undersea and Antisubmarine Warfare

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