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Chapter 5 Reflection at the Sea Surface

Publisher
Elsevier B.V.
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/s0422-9894(08)70924-3

Abstract

Publisher Summary Linearly polarized light which is completely internally reflected suffers a phase change between the parallel and perpendicular components giving rise to elliptically polarized light. Waterman and Ivanopp and Waterman have proved that elliptically polarized light occurs just below the water surface in lines of sight differing from the vertical by less than the critical angle. Glitter is a phenomenon bearing upon reflection of solar radiation. This special aspect of reflection has given rise to much speculation. The glitter pattern being open to everyone's observation, it has in popular speech been given poetic names such as “the road to happiness” or “the golden bridge”. The glitter arises when a flat surface is roughened by wind and the image of the sun formed by specular reflection explodes into glittering points. This is because water facets occur with an orientation so as to reflect sunlight to the observer. Increasing roughness will enlarge the width of the glittering band.

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