©1966 Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). Personal use of this material is permitted. However, permission to reprint/republish this material for advertising or promotional purposes or for creating new collective works for resale or redistribution to servers or lists, or to reuse any copyrighted component of this work in other works must be obtained from the IEEE. This material is presented to ensure timely dissemination of scholarly and technical work. Copyright and all rights therein are retained by authors or by other copyright holders. All persons copying this information are expected to adhere to the terms and constraints invoked by each author's copyright. In most cases, these works may not be reposted without the explicit permission of the copyright holder. The mechanism by which electromagnetic waves are scattered from the sea surface is studied herein. Principal applications for such studies occur in over-water communication channels and radar. Predictions based on rigorous formulations for diffraction from a (moving) time-space periodic surface are correlated with the experimental results of other authors. Such predictions explain the existence of strong coherent scattering from the sea surface in non-specular directions (grating lobes) and also anticipate the appearance of well-defined, harmonically related, frequency shifts (time-space harmonics) in scattered signals observed in these experiments. On the basis of such manifestations of the periodic nature of the sea surface, a model is formulated for use in calculation of the angular power spectrum of scattered electromagnetic waves. This model, accounting for spatial coherence effects, assumes for the fluctuation of heights on the water surface a Gaussian distribution with a narrow band-pass (nearly sinusoidal) spatial spectrum. Calculations of the angular, scattered spectrum due to this model show strong predominantly coherent wave summation in directions corresponding precisely to the grating lobes of a purely periodic structure of period equal to the center period of the band-pass spectrum. Spectral (angular) spreading increases with increased bandwidth of the spatial spectrum of the surface. Calculations for the present study are made on the basis of a perfectly reflecting boundary and hence do not display the proper distinction of polarization expected for a completely realistic model. The results, however, display the spectral charactral characteristics necessary to explain strong scattering in nonspecular directions by a random surface.

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The authors wish to acknowledge a stimulating discussion on sea scattering with Dr. I. Katz and Dr. L.M. Spetner at the Applied Physics Laboratory, The Johns Hopkins University. Note: imported from RIT’s Digital Media Library running on DSpace to RIT Scholar Works in February 2014.

Document Type


Department, Program, or Center

School of Mathematical Sciences (COS)


RIT – Main Campus