Abstract

A simple, empirically derived algorithm for estimating oceanic chlorophyll concentrations from spectral radiances measured by a low-flying spectroradiometer has proved highly successful in field experiments in 1980–82. The sensor used was the Multichannel Ocean Color Sensor, and the originator of the algorithm was G. W. Grew, NASA CP-2188 (1981). This paper presents an explanation for the algorithm based on the optical properties of waters containing chlorophyll and other phytoplankton pigments and the radiative transfer equations governing the remotely sensed signal. The effects of varying solar zenith, atmospheric transmittance, and interfering substances in the water on the chlorophyll algorithm are characterized, and applicability of the algorithm is discussed.

© 1983 Optical Society of America

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