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Appl Opt. 1994 Oct 20;33(30):7088-95. doi: 10.1364/AO.33.007088.

Radiance reflected from the ocean-atmosphere system: synthesis from individual components of the aerosol size distribution.


We describe a method by which the aerosol component of the radiance at the top of the atmosphere (TOA) can be synthesized from the radiances generated by individual components of the aerosol size-refractive-index distribution. The method is exact in the single-scattering approximation. For regimes in which the single-scattering approximation is not valid, the method usually reproduces the aerosol contribution with an error ≲2-3% (and only rarely >3-4%) for Sun and viewing angles as large as 80° and 70°, respectively, and for aerosol optical thicknesses as large as 0.50. In the blue, where molecular scattering makes a dominant contribution to the TOA radiance, the percent error in the synthesized total radiance is significantly less than in the synthesized aerosol component and typically will be less than the radiometric calibration uncertainties of Earth-orbiting sensors. When the aerosol is strongly absorbing, the method can fail; however, the potential for failure is easy to anticipate a priori. An obvious application of our technique is to provide a basis for the estimation of aerosol properties with Earth-orbiting sensors, e.g., the Multiangle Imaging Spectroradiometer.

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