Abstract

For improved analysis of Coastal Zone Color Scanner (CZCS) imagery, the radiance reflected from a plane-parallel atmosphere and flat sea surface in the absence of aerosols (Rayleigh radiance) has been computed with an exact multiple scattering code, i.e., including polarization. The results indicate that the single scattering approximation normally used to compute this radiance can cause errors of up to 5% for small and moderate solar zenith angles. At large solar zenith angles, such as encountered in the analysis of high-latitude imagery, the errors can become much larger, e.g., >10% in the blue band. The single scattering error also varies along individual scan lines. Comparison with multiple scattering computations using scalar transfer theory, i.e., ignoring polarization, show that scalar theory can yield errors of approximately the same magnitude as single scattering when compared with exact computations at small to moderate values of the solar zenith angle. The exact computations can be easily incorporated into CZCS processing algorithms, and, for application to future instruments with higher radiometric sensitivity, a scheme is developed with which the effect of variations in the surface pressure could be easily and accurately included in the exact computation of the Rayleigh radiance. Direct application of these computations to CZCS imagery indicates that accurate atmospheric corrections can be made with solar zenith angles at least as large as 65° and probably up to at least 70° with a more sensitive instrument. This suggests that the new Rayleigh radiance algorithm should produce more consistent pigment retrievals, particularly at high latitudes.

© 1988 Optical Society of America

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