It is shown that the oceanic beam attenuation coefficient can be retrieved from airborne laser-induced and depth-resolved chromophoric dissolved organic matter
(CDOM) fluorescence. The radiative transfer equation (RTE) retrieval methodology does not require a laser beam spread function model since two CDOM fluorescence bands are used in conjunction with a beam attenuation spectral model, is self-normalizing since the CDOM absorption coefficient and laser beam irradiance are common to both fluorescence observational channels, and is enabled by the known isotropic phase function for CDOM fluorescence. Although this RTE analytical inversion theory is exact, the retrieval uncertainty is reduced by configuring the proposed lidar in the multiple-field-of-view beam attenuation mode to significantly diminish observation of multiple scattering. The theory can be applied over wide regions of the ocean's continental margins, estuaries, lakes, and rivers that are known to have sufficient CDOM.
© 2006 Optical Society of America
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