Target detection within sea clutter: A comparative study by fractal scaling analyses

Published in:

Fractals-Complex Geometry Patterns and Scaling in Nature and Society 14,3 ( 2006 ) 187-204;


Sea clutter refers to the radar returns from a patch of ocean surface. Accurate modeling of sea clutter and robust detection of low observable targets within sea clutter are important problems in remote sensing and radar signal processing applications. Due to lack of fundamental understanding of the nature of sea clutter, however, no simple and effective methods for detecting targets within sea clutter have been proposed. To help solve this important problem, we apply three types of fractal scaling analyses, fluctuation analysis (FA), detrended fluctuation analysis (DFA), and the wavelet-based fractal. scaling analysis to study sea clutter. Our analyses show that sea clutter data exhibit fractal behaviors in the time scale range of about 0.01 seconds to a few seconds. The physical significance of these time scales is discussed. We emphasize that time scales characterizing fractal scaling break are among the most important features for detecting patterns using fractal theory. By systematically studying 392 sea clutter time series measured under various sea and weather conditions, we find very effective methods for detecting targets within sea clutter. Based on the data available to us, the accuracy of these methods is close to 100%.


fractal;; pattern recognition;; sea clutter;; target detection;; low grazing angles;; radar targets;; 1/f noise;; chaotic dynamics;; neural-network;; surface;; images;; sequences;; dimension;; spectrum

Date of this Version

January 2006

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