Marine Science Faculty Publications

Performance of POLYMER Atmospheric Correction of Ocean Color Imagery in the Presence of Absorbing Aerosols

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Aerosols, Polymers, Atmospheric modeling, MODIS, Atmospheric measurements, Oceans, Atmospheric waves

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The atmospheric correction approach currently being used operationally by NASA [termed as NASA standard atmospheric correction (NSAC) approach] to process ocean color data relies on traditional “black pixel” approach, with additional modifications to account for nonnegligible water-leaving radiance in the near-infrared (NIR) bands. The NSAC approach underestimates remote-sensing reflectance (R rs , sr -1 ) in blue wavelengths in the presence of absorbing aerosols. Addressing this issue requires realistic absorbing-aerosol model and knowledge of the vertical distribution of aerosols, which are currently difficult to achieve. An alternative atmospheric correction approach has been evaluated in this paper for Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) data. The approach is based on a previously developed spectra-matching optimization [POLYnomial-based approach established for the atmospheric correction of MERIS data (POLYMER)], where polynomial functions are used to express atmospheric contribution to the measured radiance and where a bio-optical model is used to estimate the water contribution. Evaluation against in situ data measured over the regions frequently affected by absorbing aerosols indicates that, compared with the NSAC approach, the POLYMER approach improves the R rs retrievals in blue wavelengths while having a slightly worse performance in other wavelengths. Evaluation using NSAC-retrieved Rrs in adjacent days free of absorbing aerosols suggests that the POLYMER approach could improve the spectral shape and increase valid spatial coverage. When applied to time-series MODIS data, the POLYMER approach could generate more temporary coherent daily and monthly R rs patterns than the NSAC approach. These results suggest that the POLYMER approach could be an alternative approach to partly correct for absorbing aerosols in the absence of explicit information on the aerosol type and the vertical distribution.

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EEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing, v. 57, issue 9, p. 6666-6674