Atmospheric correction of the second generation ocean color sensors

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)



First Committee Member

Howard R. Gordon - Committee Chair


There are two assumptions in the current algorithm for atmospheric correction of Coastal Zone Color Scanner (CZCS) imagery: (1) the sea surface is flat; and (2) the Rayleigh-aerosol interaction can be ignored. Simulations are carried out assess the error when the CZCS-type algorithm is applied to a realistic ocean in which the surface is roughened by the wind. It is found that both the errors induced by the flat ocean assumption and by ignoring the Rayleigh-aerosol interaction can be ignored in CZCS processing because the CZCS does not possess high enough radiometric sensitivity. However, for the new ocean color sensors (e.g. SeaWiFS), these errors can be as much as an order of magnitude larger than the noise equivalent spectral radiance. Therefore, a new algorithm for atmospheric correction has been developed, and several viewing scenarios have been examined. From the computations, it is found that the error in the retrieved water-leaving reflectance in realistic situations is within the allowed limits for the next generation ocean color sensors using the new algorithm. Finally, a possible implementation of the new algorithm has been discussed.


Physics, Optics; Remote Sensing

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