Abstract

We present an overview of the vicarious calibration of the Sea-Viewing Wide Field-of-view Sensor (SeaWiFS). This program has three components: the calibration of the near-infrared bands so that the atmospheric correction algorithm retrieves the optical properties of maritime aerosols in the open ocean; the calibration of the visible bands against in-water measurements from the Marine Optical Buoy (MOBY); and a calibration-verification program that uses comparisons between SeaWiFS retrievals and globally distributed in situ measurements of water-leaving radiances. This paper describes the procedures as implemented for the third reprocessing of the SeaWiFS global mission data set. The uncertainty in the near-infrared vicarious gain is 0.9%. The uncertainties in the visible-band vicarious gains are 0.3%, corresponding to uncertainties in the water-leaving radiances of approximately 3%. The means of the SeaWiFS/in situ matchup ratios for water-leaving radiances are typically within 5% of unity in Case 1 waters, while chlorophyll a ratios are within 1% of unity. SeaWiFS is the first ocean-color mission to use an extensive and ongoing prelaunch and postlaunch calibration program, and the matchup results demonstrate the benefits of a comprehensive approach.

© 2001 Optical Society of America

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