Abstract

Two factors influence the diffuse transmittance (t) of water-leaving radiance (Lw) to the top of the atmosphere: the angular distribution of upwelling radiance beneath the sea surface (Lu) and the concentration and optical properties of aerosols in the atmosphere. We examine these factors and (1) show that the error in Lw that is induced by assuming Lu is uniform (i.e., in treating the subsurface reflectance by the water body as Lambertian) is significant in comparison with the other errors expected in Lw only at low phytoplankton concentration and then only in the blue region of the spectrum; (2) show that when radiance ratios are used in biophysical algorithms the effect of the uniform- Lu approximation is even smaller; and (3) provide an avenue for introducing accurate computation of the uniform Lu diffuse transmittance into atmospheric correction algorithms. In an Appendix the reciprocity principle is derived for a medium in which the refractive index is a continuous function of position.

© 1997 Optical Society of America

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