Abstract

Oceanic radiance model inversion methods are used to develop a comprehensive algorithm for retrieval of the absorption coefficients of phycourobilin (PUB) pigment, type I phycoerythrobilin (PEB) pigment rich in PUB, and type II PEB deficient in PUB pigment (together with the usual “big three” inherent optical properties: the total backscattering coefficient and the absorption coefficients of chromophoric dissolved organic matter (CDOM)–detritus and phytoplankton). This fully modeled inversion algorithm is then simplified to yield a hybrid modeled–unmodeled inversion algorithm in which the phycoerythrin (PE) absorption coefficient is retrieved as unmodeled 488-nm absorption (which exceeds the modeled phytoplankton and the CDOM–detritus absorption coefficients). Each algorithm was applied to water-leaving radiances, but only hybrid modeled–unmodeled inversions yielded viable retrievals of the PE absorption coefficient. Validation of the PE absorption coefficient retrieval was achieved by relative comparison with airborne laser-induced PEB fluorescence. The modeled–unmodeled retrieval of four inherent optical properties by direct matrix inversion is rapid and well conditioned, but the accuracy is strongly limited by the accuracy of the three principal inherent optical property models across all four spectral bands. Several research areas are identified to enhance the radiance-model-based retrievals: (a) improved PEB and PUB absorption coefficient models, (b) PE spectral shifts induced by PUB chromophore substitution at chromophore binding sites, (c) specific absorption-sensitive phytoplankton absorption modeling, (d) total constituent backscattering modeling, (e) unmodeled carotinoid and phycocyanin absorption that are not now accounted for in the chlorophyll-dominated phytoplankton absorption coefficient model, and (f) iterative inversion techniques to solve for six constituents with only five radiances. Although considerable progress has been made toward the satellite recovery of PE absorption, the maturity of the retrieval is presently insufficient for routine global application. Instead it must currently be used on a regional basis where localized ship and aircraft validation can be made available. The algorithm was developed for the MODIS (Moderate-Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer) sensor but is applicable to any sensor having comparable band locations.

© 1999 Optical Society of America

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