Atmospheric Correction of Satellite Ocean-Color Imagery During the PACE Era

Frouin, R., B. A. Franz, A. Ibrahim, K. Knobelspiesse, Z. Ahmad, B. Cairns, J. Chowdhary, H. Dierssen, J. Tan, O. Dubovik, X. Huang, A. B. Davis, O. V. Kalashnikova, D. R. Thompson, L. Remer, E. Boss, O. Coddington, P. Deschamps, B. Gao, L. Gross, Otto Hasekamp, A. H. Omar, B. Pelletier, D. Ramon, F. Steinmetz, and P. Zhai (2019), Atmospheric Correction of Satellite Ocean-Color Imagery During the PACE Era, Front. Earth Sci., 7, 145, doi:10.3389/feart.2019.00145.

The Plankton, Aerosol, Cloud, ocean Ecosystem (PACE) mission will carry into space the Ocean Color Instrument (OCI), a spectrometer measuring at 5nm spectral resolution in the ultraviolet (UV) to near infrared (NIR) with additional spectral bands in the shortwave infrared (SWIR), and two multi-angle polarimeters that will overlap the OCI spectral range and spatial coverage, i.e., the Spectrometer for Planetary Exploration (SPEXone) and the Hyper-Angular Rainbow Polarimeter (HARP2). These instruments, especially when used in synergy, have great potential for improving estimates of water reflectance in the post Earth Observing System (EOS) era. Extending the top-of-atmosphere (TOA) observations to the UV, where aerosol absorption is effective, adding spectral bands in the SWIR, where even the most turbid waters are black and sensitivity to the aerosol coarse mode is higher than at shorter wavelengths, and measuring in the oxygen A-band to estimate aerosol altitude will enable greater accuracy in atmospheric correction for ocean color science. The multi-angular and polarized measurements, sensitive to aerosol properties (e.g., size distribution, index of refraction), can further help to identify or constrain the aerosol model, or to retrieve directly water reflectance. Algorithms that exploit the new capabilities are presented, and their ability to improve accuracy is discussed. They embrace a modern, adapted heritage two-step algorithm and alternative schemes (deterministic, statistical) that aim at inverting the TOA signal in a single step. These schemes, by the nature of their construction, their robustness, their generalization properties, and their ability to associate uncertainties, are expected to become the new standard in the future. A strategy for atmospheric correction is presented that ensures continuity and consistency with past and present ocean-color missions while enabling full exploitation of the new dimensions and possibilities. Despite the major improvements anticipated with the PACE instruments, gaps/issues remain to be filled/tackled. They include dealing properly with whitecaps, taking into account Earth-curvature effects, correcting for adjacency effects, accounting for the coupling between scattering and absorption, modeling accurately water reflectance, and acquiring a sufficiently representative dataset of water reflectance in the UV to SWIR. Dedicated efforts, experimental and theoretical, are in order to gather the necessary information and rectify inadequacies. Ideas and solutions are put forward to address the unresolved issues. Thanks to its design and characteristics, the PACE mission will mark the beginning of a new era of unprecedented accuracy in ocean-color radiometry from space.

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Research Program: 
Physical Oceanography Program (POP)
Ocean Biology and Biogeochemistry Program (OBB)
Radiation Science Program (RSP)
Funding Sources: 
ROSES - PACE Science Team