Ocean Colour at Low Sun and High Waves


Many space-borne sensors are deployed to image the ocean in the visible portion of the spectrum. The colour of the sea, or more precisely the spectral water-leaving radiance, gives us information about the concentration of water constituents, e.g., chlorophyll, coloured dissolved organic matter, or suspended mineral matter. The bidirectional nature of the upwelling radiance just beneath the water surface and the interaction of this radiance with the air- sea interface depend on the viewing- and sun-geometry and surface waves. If we consider wave elevation and wave shadowing effects, perceptible deviations of the transmittance and reflectance of the air-water interface occur at low Sun (zenith angle of more than 60°) in comparison with wind-depending wave slope statistics. The inclusion of appropriate wind and wave data, i.e., wave heights and periods, can help to reduce uncertainties related to the Fresnel-reflecting ocean surface - in particular for large solar zenith angles. This especially regards remote sensing of ocean colour at high latitudes and atmospheric correction.
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