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Maritime Infrared Background Clutter

Author: Schwering, P.B.W.
Place: Bellingham, WA.
Institution: SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
Source:Watkins, W.R.Clement, D., Proceedings SPIE - Targets and Backgrounds: Characterization and Representation II, 8-10 April 1996, Orlando, FL, 255-266
Proceedings of SPIE
Identifier: 94911
doi: doi:10.1117/12.243003
Report number: SPIE-2742
Keywords: Physics · Background clutter · Small target detection · Infrared imaging · Surface targets · Infrared detection · Background clutter · Maritime environment · Infrared surveillance · Computerized simulation


The detection of small targets in maritime infrared surveillance is hampered by the presence of clutter. Sea surface structure, reflection and emission changes related to incident angle variations and surface effects are standard features governing the clutter behavior. Also special effects as sun glint an horizon effects play an important role for clutter. In order to optimize the detection process, quantitative clutter estimates are of use for filter settings. We have recorded a large amount of infrared backgrounds in the last few years, during common NATO trials. A large amount of different meteorological conditions took place during the various experiments. A first set of these data have been analyzed to obtain statistical data that represent the infrared scene. We have derived vertical temperature profiles, vertical fluctuation profiles, horizontal correlation coefficients and temporal correlation functions. In this paper we present the first analysis of these data. We are in the process of obtaining a condensed database of information to regenerate clutter images from bulk meteor parameters, and clutter parameters. The clutter and meteor parameters have been used to simulate various infrared scenes. Examples of this simulation process are shown in the presentation. The simulated images are statistically similar to the original images that were used to derive the parameters. A description of the image-generation is presented. Future expansions of the model are discussed