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Mathematical Physics
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Project MOPS (Marine Opportunity Passive Systems)

The observation of the ocean surface using electromagnetic sources of opportunity (GNSS signals for instance) constitutes a green research topic for several years. Indeed, different American and European research teams have recently developed passive airborne or satellite systems that can observe the reflexion of the GNSS signals by the ocean surfaces. And, the so obtained results show that the GNSS signals provide a relevant source of opportunity for the sea surface monitoring. In the case of a GNSS observer situated at few dozens of meters above the sea, there are very few operational passive systems and the measured information usually remains sparse (sometimes limited to the sea level monitoring).

Yet, in the vicinity of the sea surface, our recent simulation studies have shown that the scattered GNSS is significantly influenced by the time evolving sea surface. These results suggest that the scattered GNSS signals are for the moment not used to their maximum. Innovative signal processing algorithms and new inverse problem methods could most certainly transform the GNSS receivers as a very powerful source of advanced oceanographic information.

This is the reason why a group of researchers from Brest (north-west of France) have very recently created the project MOPS (Marine Opportunity Passive Systems) to study the feasibility of passive systems in the vicinity of the sea surface for the oceanographers. Due to the complexity of this objective, this project has to manage different scientific academic domains (Electromagnetics, signal processing, oceanography,...). In fact, the project MOPS will integrate various skilled scientists who closely collaborate to develop an experimental testbed at a Brest coastal spot.

This experimental testbed will be based on different high speed passive recording systems and compared with an operational off-shelf system (oceanpal system).

The multiplication of recording devices will be a major asset since it will give a reliable stream of digital data that could be fruitfully analyzed, treated and validated. In the same way, the testbed is adapted for long term periods of observation and so the recorded data could be statistically correlated to oceanographic evolutions.

The project MOPS will offer the possibility to confront original theoretical developments with numerous precise quantified measurements of GNSS signals in referenced maritime environments.

Finally, it is noteworthy that one of the major purpose of the project MOPS is to initiate national and international collaboration in the field of passive coastal surveillance systems.

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