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Opt Express. 2008 Aug 18;16(17):12905-18.

Investigation of the variations in the water leaving polarized reflectance from the POLDER satellite data over two biogeochemical contrasted oceanic areas.

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Université du Littoral Côte d'Opale, Laboratoire d'Océanologie et de Géosciences, 62930 Wimereux, France.


The biogeochemical characterization of marine particles suspended in sea water, is of fundamental importance in many areas of ocean science. Previous studies based on theoretical calculations and field measurements have demonstrated the importance of the use of the polarized light field in the retrieval of the suspended marine particles properties. However, because of the weakness of the water leaving polarized signal and of the limited number of appropriate spatial sensors, such measurements have never been exploited from space. Here we show that the marine polarized remote sensing reflectance, as detected from the POLarization and Directionality of the Earth's Reflectances (POLDER) sensor, can be measured from space over bright waters and in absence of aerosols. This feasibility study is carried out over two oceanic areas characterized by different nature of the bulk particulate assemblage: the Barents sea during an intense coccolithophore bloom, and the Rio de la Plata estuary waters dominated by suspended sediments. The retrieved absolute values of the degree of polarization, P, its angular pattern, and its behavior with the scattering level are consistent with theory and field measurements. Radiative transfer simulations confirm the sensitivity of the POLDER-2 P values to the nature of the particulate assemblage. These preliminary results are very promising for the assessment of the bulk particle composition from remote sensing of the polarized signal, at least over highly scattering waters.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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