Abstract

We examine the problem of uniqueness in the relationship between the remote-sensing reflectance (Rrs) and the inherent optical properties (IOPs) of ocean water. The results point to the fact that diffuse reflectance of plane irradiance from ocean water is inherently ambiguous. Furthermore, in the 400 < λ < 750 nm region of the spectrum, Rrs(λ) also suffers from ambiguity caused by the similarity in wavelength dependence of the coefficients of absorption by particulate matter and of absorption by colored dissolved organic matter. The absorption coefficients have overlapping exponential responses, which lead to the fact that more than one combination of IOPs can produce nearly the same Rrs spectrum. This ambiguity in absorption parameters demands that we identify the regions of the Rrs spectrum where we can isolate the effects that are due only to scattering by particulates and to absorption by pure water. The results indicate that the spectral shape of the absorption coefficient of phytoplankton, a ph(λ), cannot be derived from a multiparameter fit to Rrs(λ). However, the magnitude and the spectral dependence of the absorption coefficient can be estimated from the difference between the measured Rrs(λ) and the best fit to Rrs(λ) in terms of IOPs that exclude a ph(λ).

© 2004 Optical Society of America

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