Measurement of Ocean Waves in a Satellite Photograph

by Leona Marshall Libby, W. F. Libby, S. S. Lawrence


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Apollo 6 photographs of the surface of the ocean, made within two hours of noon solar time are found to show wave structure of the sea with remarkable clarity. The wave length distribution has been measured for about 1000 waves in a single photograph of about 10,000 sq mi area. With better photographic definition, wave height could also probably be measured from deformation of edges of cloud shadows. Using this method, it would be possible to measure wave length and wave height distributions daily of all oceans, with a polar orbiting satellite carrying a television camera. 10 pp.

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