Abstract

Atmospheric correction in ocean-color remote sensing corrects more than 90% of signals in the visible contributed from the atmosphere measured at satellite altitude. The Sea-viewing Wide Field-of-view Sensor (SeaWiFS) atmospheric correction uses radiances measured at two near-infrared wavelengths centered at 765 and 865 nm to estimate the atmospheric contribution and extrapolate it into the visible range. However, the SeaWiFS 765-nm band, which covers 745–785 nm, completely encompasses the oxygen A-band absorption. The O2 A-band absorption usually reduces more than 10–15% of the measured radiance at the SeaWiFS 765-nm band. Ding and Gordon [Appl. Opt. 34, 2068–2080 (1995)] proposed a numerical scheme to remove the O2 A-band absorption effects from the atmospheric correction. This scheme has been implemented in the SeaWiFS ocean-color imagery data-processing system. I present results that demonstrate a method to validate the SeaWiFS 765-nm O2 A-band absorption correction by analyzing the sensor-measured radiances at 765 and 865 nm taken looking at the clouds over the oceans. SeaWiFS is usually not saturated with cloudy scenes because of its bilinear gain design. Because the optical and radiative properties of water clouds are nearly independent of the wavelengths ranging from 400 to 865 nm, the sensor-measured radiances above the cloud at the two near-infrared wavelengths are comparable. The retrieved cloud optical thicknesses from the SeaWiFS band 7 measurements are compared for cases with and without the O2 A-band absorption corrections and from the band 8 measurements. The results show that, for air-mass values of 2–5, the current SeaWiFS O2 A-band absorption correction works reasonably well. The validation method is potentially applicable for in-orbit relative calibration for SeaWiFS and other satellite sensors.

© 1999 Optical Society of America

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