Abstract

Spectral measurements of remote-sensing reflectance (Rrs) and absorption coefficients carried out in three European estuaries (Gironde and Loire in France, Tamar in the UK) are presented and analyzed. Typical Rrs and absorption spectra are compared with typical values measured in coastal waters. The respective contributions of the water constituents, i.e., suspended sediments, colored dissolved organic matter, and phytoplankton (characterized by chlorophyll-a), are determined. The Rrs spectra are then reproduced with an optical model from the measured absorption coefficients and fitted backscattering coefficients. From Rrs ratios, empirical quantification relationships are established, reproduced, and explained from theoretical calculations. These quantification relationships were established from numerous field measurements and a reflectance model integrating the mean values of the water constituents' inherent optical properties. The model's sensitivity to the biogeochemical constituents and to their nature and composition is assessed.

© 2006 Optical Society of America

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