The current ocean color data processing system for the Sea-viewing Wide Field-of-View Sensor (SeaWiFS) and the moderate resolution imaging spectroradiometer (MODIS) uses the Rayleigh lookup tables that were generated using the vector radiative transfer theory with inclusion of the polarization effects. The polarization effects, however, are not accounted for in the aerosol lookup tables for the ocean color data processing. I describe a study of the aerosol polarization effects on the atmospheric correction and aerosol retrieval algorithms in the ocean color remote sensing. Using an efficient method for the multiple vector radiative transfer computations, aerosol lookup tables that include polarization effects are generated. Simulations have been carried out to evaluate the aerosol polarization effects on the derived ocean color and aerosol products for all possible solar-sensor geometries and the various aerosol optical properties. Furthermore, the new aerosol lookup tables have been implemented in the SeaWiFS data processing system and extensively tested and evaluated with SeaWiFS regional and global measurements. Results show that in open oceans (maritime environment), the aerosol polarization effects on the ocean color and aerosol products are usually negligible, while there are some noticeable effects on the derived products in the coastal regions with nonmaritime aerosols.
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