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Appl Opt. 1994 Jan 20;33(3):443-52. doi: 10.1364/AO.33.000443.

Retrieval of water-leaving radiance and aerosol optical thickness over the oceans with SeaWiFS: a preliminary algorithm.


The second generation of ocean-color-analyzing instruments requires more accurate atmospheric correction than does the Coastal Zone Color Scanner (CZCS), if one is to utilize fully their increased radiometric sensitivity. Unlike the CZCS, the new instruments possess bands in the near infrared (NIR) that are solely for aiding atmospheric correction. We show, using aerosol models, that certain assumptions regarding the spectral behavior of the aerosol reflectance employed in the standard CZCS correction algorithm are not valid over the spectral range encompassing both the visible and the NIR. Furthermore, we show that multiple-scattering effects on the algorithm depend significantly on the aerosol model. Following these observations, we propose an algorithm that utilizes the NIR bands for atmospheric correction to the required accuracy. Examples of the dependence of the error on the aerosol model, the turbidity of the atmosphere, and surface roughness (waves) are provided. The error in the retrieved phytoplankton-pigment concentration (the principal product of ocean-color sensors) induced by errors in the atmospheric correction are shown to be <20% in approximately 90% of the cases examined. Finally, the aerosol thickness (τ(α)) is estimated through a simple extension of the correction algorithm. Simulations suggest that the error in the recovered value of τ(α) should be ≲ 10%.


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