A hand-held radiometer, called SIMBAD, has been designed and built specifically for evaluating satellite-derived ocean color. It provides information on the basic ocean-color variables, namely aerosol optical thickness and marine reflectance, in five spectral bands centered at 443, 490, 560, 670, and 870 nm. Aerosol optical thickness is obtained by viewing the Sun disk and measuring the direct atmospheric transmittance. Marine reflectance is obtained by viewing the ocean surface and measuring the upwelling radiance through a vertical polarizer in a geometry that minimizes glitter and reflected sky radiation, i.e., at 45° from nadir (near the Brewster angle) and at 135° in azimuth from the Sun’s principal plane. Relative inaccuracy on marine reflectance, established theoretically, is approximately 6% at 443 and 490 nm, 8% at 560 nm, and 23% at 670 nm for case 1 waters containing 0.1 mg m-3 of chlorophyll a. Measurements by SIMBAD and other instruments during the Second Aerosol Characterization Experiment, the Aerosols-99 Experiment, and the California Cooperative Oceanic Fisheries Investigations cruises agree within uncertainties. The radiometer is compact, light, and easy to operate at sea. The measurement protocol is simple, allowing en route measurements from ships of opportunity (research vessels and merchant ships) traveling the world’s oceans.
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