December 2020 OES Beacon

Distinguished Lecturer Roster

Malcolm Heron, OES Vice President for Technical Activities

Each year OES appoints three Distinguished Lecturers for a four-year term.  Each Distinguished Lecturer is endorsed by one of the Technology Committees and will work to promote the understanding of that technology and its applications.  Ken Foote and Jim Candy will return to another term from January 2021 to 2024, and we welcome Muarizio Migliaccio to the DL roster.  Ken Foote is endorsed by the Underwater Acoustics Technology Committee, and Jim Candy is endorsed by the Data Analytics, Integration and Modeling Technology Committee.  You can see their details at

Muarizio Migliaccio

Full professor of Electromagnetics at Università di Napoli Parthenope (Italy)


  1. Synthetic Aperture Radar for oil spill observation
  2. Wind speed estimation by Synthetic Aperture Radar
  3. Man-made targets at sea observation by polarimetric SAR


Maurizio Migliaccio is a Fellow of IEEE, and a full professor of Electromagnetics at Università di Napoli Parthenope (Italy).  His DL nomination was endorsed by the Ocean Remote Sensing Technology Committee.  He has been teaching Microwave Remote Sensing since 1994 and has published about 160 peer-reviewed journal papers on remote sensing and applied electromagnetics.  He offers a slate of three topics for OES Distinguished Lectures, but as for all DLs, he can be approached for lectures in his general field of expertise.

Synthetic Aperture Radar for oil spill observation

Marine oil pollution monitoring is a topic of great applicative and scientific relevance. Use of remotely sensed measurements is of special interest and, in particular, the SAR because of its almost all-weather and all-day imaging capability at fine spatial resolution is the most effective tool. Conventional single-polarization SAR oil spill monitoring techniques are limited in their capability to detect oil slicks since they strongly rely on suitable thresholds, training samples, and ancillary information. Hence, an expert image analyst is due. The launch of a number of polarimetric SAR missions, along with the understanding of the peculiar physical mechanisms governing the scattering by an oil slick, led to a new paradigm (known as physical processing) that fostered a set of polarimetric algorithms particularly robust and efficient. Hence, suitable polarimetric models that exploit the departure from the slick-free sea Bragg scattering have been developed to effectively address oil slick monitoring. A set of polarimetric features extracted following such electromagnetic models have been proved to be reliable for oil slick monitoring. Polarimetric SAR observations led to a significant improvement in sea oil slick observation since they allow distinguishing oil slicks from a broad class of lookalikes in an unsupervised way.

Wind speed estimation by Synthetic Aperture Radar

The oceans cover over 70% of the Earth’s surface, carrying out about 50% of global primary production and hosting the widest biodiversity on the planet. Ocean monitoring plays a key role in all World Meteorological Organization (WMO) programs. Within such a framework, sea-surface wind field is attracting growing attention from engineers and in order to boost the sustainable development by exploiting new “clean” energy sources (e.g., to plan and implement offshore wind energy farms). In this seminar the SAR, a microwave narrowband coherent imaging system, is analyzed as sensor for sea surface wind estimation.

The critical analysis of three general procedures is presented along with a physical background.

Man-made targets at sea observation by polarimetric SAR

Sea man-made targets usually appear as bright spots over a dark background, this is due to some concurring physical factor: the large size of the target compared to the SAR spatial resolution, the metallic nature of the target that ensures a strong electromagnetic return and a low return of the sea surface that occurs in low-to-moderate wind regimes. When some of the aforementioned physical hypothesis do not occur the detection of man-made targets becomes a much more challenging task. In the seminar a physical-driven approach is presented along with a number of examples. In this seminar the supporting role of SAR polarimetry and physical processing for man-made target at sea detection is illustrated.