Abstract

A laser–optical instrument for use in determining the 2-D wave slope spectrum of ocean capillary waves is described. The instrument measures up to a 35° tip angle of the surface normal by measuring the position of a refracted laser beam directed vertically upward through a water surface. A telescope, a continuous 2-D Schottky barrier photodiode, and a pair of analog dividers render the signals independent of water height and insensitive to laser beam intensity fluctuations. Calibration is performed entirely in the laboratory before field use. Sample records and wave slope spectra are shown for 1-D wave tank tests and for 2-D ocean tests. These are presented along with comparison spectra for calm and choppy water conditions. A mechanical wave follower was used to adjust the instrument position in the presence of large ocean swell and tides.

© 1977 Optical Society of America

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