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Atmospheric Measurement Techniques An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union

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Atmos. Meas. Tech., 10, 1539-1555, 2017
https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-10-1539-2017
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
24 Apr 2017
Updated MISR dark water research aerosol retrieval algorithm – Part 1: Coupled 1.1 km ocean surface chlorophyll a retrievals with empirical calibration corrections
James A. Limbacher1,2 and Ralph A. Kahn1 1Earth Science Division, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, 20771, USA
2Science Systems and Applications Inc., Lanham, 20706, USA
Abstract. As aerosol amount and type are key factors in the atmospheric correction required for remote-sensing chlorophyll a concentration (Chl) retrievals, the Multi-angle Imaging SpectroRadiometer (MISR) can contribute to ocean color analysis despite a lack of spectral channels optimized for this application. Conversely, an improved ocean surface constraint should also improve MISR aerosol-type products, especially spectral single-scattering albedo (SSA) retrievals. We introduce a coupled, self-consistent retrieval of Chl together with aerosol over dark water. There are time-varying MISR radiometric calibration errors that significantly affect key spectral reflectance ratios used in the retrievals. Therefore, we also develop and apply new calibration corrections to the MISR top-of-atmosphere (TOA) reflectance data, based on comparisons with coincident MODIS (Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer) observations and trend analysis of the MISR TOA bidirectional reflectance factors (BRFs) over three pseudo-invariant desert sites.

We run the MISR research retrieval algorithm (RA) with the corrected MISR reflectances to generate MISR-retrieved Chl and compare the MISR Chl values to a set of 49 coincident SeaBASS (SeaWiFS Bio-optical Archive and Storage System) in situ observations. Where Chlin situ < 1.5 mg m−3, the results from our Chl model are expected to be of highest quality, due to algorithmic assumption validity. Comparing MISR RA Chl to the 49 coincident SeaBASS observations, we report a correlation coefficient (r) of 0.86, a root-mean-square error (RMSE) of 0.25, and a median absolute error (MAE) of 0.10. Statistically, a two-sample Kolmogorov–Smirnov test indicates that it is not possible to distinguish between MISR Chl and available SeaBASS in situ Chl values (p > 0.1). We also compare MODIS–Terra and MISR RA Chl statistically, over much broader regions. With about 1.5 million MISR–MODIS collocations having MODIS Chl < 1.5 mg m−3, MISR and MODIS show very good agreement: r = 0. 96, MAE  =  0.09, and RMSE  =  0.15.

The new dark water aerosol/Chl RA can retrieve Chl in low-Chl, case I waters, independent of other imagers such as MODIS, via a largely physical algorithm, compared to the commonly applied statistical ones. At a minimum, MISR's multi-angle data should help reduce uncertainties in the MODIS–Terra ocean color retrieval where coincident measurements are made, while also allowing for a more robust retrieval of particle properties such as spectral single-scattering albedo.


Citation: Limbacher, J. A. and Kahn, R. A.: Updated MISR dark water research aerosol retrieval algorithm – Part 1: Coupled 1.1 km ocean surface chlorophyll a retrievals with empirical calibration corrections, Atmos. Meas. Tech., 10, 1539-1555, https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-10-1539-2017, 2017.
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Short summary
Aerosol amount and type affect the “atmospheric correction” needed to derive ocean surface chlorophyll a concentration (Chl) from satellite remote sensing and, conversely, the ocean surface representation affects aerosol retrieval products. We introduce a coupled atmosphere-surface retrieval for Multi-angle Imaging SpectroRadiometer observations over dark water aimed at improving both aerosol and Chl results. We also refine the MISR calibration, critical to achieving high-quality retrievals.
Aerosol amount and type affect the “atmospheric correction” needed to derive ocean surface...
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