A radiative transfer code termed OSOA for the ocean–atmosphere system that is able to predict the total and the polarized signals has been developed. The successive-orders-of-scattering method is used. The air–water interface is modeled as a planar mirror. Four components grouped by their optical properties, pure seawater, phytoplankton, nonchlorophyllose matter, and yellow substances, are included in the water column. Models are validated through comparisons with standard models. The numerical accuracy of the method is better than 2%; high computational efficiency is maintained. The model is used to study the influence of polarization on the detection of suspended matter. Polarizing properties of hydrosols are discussed: phytoplankton cells exhibit weak polarization and small inorganic particles, which are strong backscatterers, contribute appreciably to the polarized signal. Therefore the use of the polarized signal to extract the sediment signature promises good results. Also, polarized radiance could improve characterization of aerosols when open ocean waters are treated.
© 2001 Optical Society of AmericaPDF Article