Abstract

Using a data set of 1333 samples, we assess the spectral absorption relationships of different wave bands for phytoplankton (ph) and particles. We find that a nonlinear model (second-order quadratic equations) delivers good performance in describing their spectral characteristics. Based on these spectral relationships, we develop a method for partitioning the total absorption coefficient into the contributions attributable to phytoplankton [aph(λ)], colored dissolved organic material [CDOM; aCDOM(λ)], and nonalgal particles [NAP; aNAP(λ)]. This method is validated using a data set that contains 550 simultaneous measurements of phytoplankton, CDOM, and NAP from the NASA bio-Optical Marine Algorithm Dataset. We find that our method is highly efficient and robust, with significant accuracy: the relative root-mean-square errors (RMSEs) are 25.96%, 38.30%, and 19.96% for aph(443), aCDOM(443), and the CDOM exponential slope, respectively. The performance is still satisfactory when the method is applied to water samples from the northern South China Sea as a regional case. The computed and measured absorption coefficients (167 samples) agree well with the RMSEs, i.e., 18.50%, 32.82%, and 10.21% for aph(443), aCDOM(443), and the CDOM exponential slope, respectively. Finally, the partitioning method is applied directly to an independent data set (1160 samples) derived from the Bermuda Bio-Optics Project that contains relatively low absorption values, and we also obtain good inversion accuracy [RMSEs of 32.37%, 32.57%, and 11.52% for aph(443), aCDOM(443), and the CDOM exponential slope, respectively]. Our results indicate that this partitioning method delivers satisfactory performance for the retrieval of aph, aCDOM, and aNAP. Therefore, this may be a useful tool for extracting absorption coefficients from in situ measurements or remotely sensed ocean-color data.

© 2013 Optical Society of America

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