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Updated MISR dark water research aerosol retrieval algorithm – Part 1:...

Limbacher, J., and R. Kahn (2017), Updated MISR dark water research aerosol retrieval algorithm – Part 1: Coupled 1.1 km ocean surface chlorophyll a retrievals with empirical calibration corrections, Atmos. Meas. Tech., 10, 1539-1555, doi:10.5194/amt-10-1539-2017.

As aerosol amount and type are key factors in the “atmospheric correction” required for remote-sensing chlorophyll a concentration (Chl) retrievals, the Multi-angle Imaging SpectroRadiometer (MISR) can contribute to ocean color analysis despite a lack of spectral channels optimized for this application. Conversely, an improved ocean surface constraint should also improve MISR aerosol-type products, especially spectral single-scattering albedo (SSA) retrievals. We introduce a coupled, self-consistent retrieval of Chl together with aerosol over dark water. There are time-varying MISR radiometric calibration errors that significantly affect key spectral reflectance ratios used in the retrievals. Therefore, we also develop and apply new calibration corrections to the MISR top-of-atmosphere (TOA) reflectance data, based on comparisons with coincident MODIS (Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer) observations and trend analysis of the MISR TOA bidirectional reflectance factors (BRFs) over three pseudo-invariant desert sites.

We run the MISR research retrieval algorithm (RA) with the corrected MISR reflectances to generate MISR-retrieved Chl and compare the MISR Chl values to a set of 49 coincident SeaBASS (SeaWiFS Bio-optical Archive and Storage System) in situ observations. Where Chlin situ < 1.5 mg m−3 , the results from our Chl model are expected to be of highest quality, due to algorithmic assumption validity. Comparing MISR RA Chl to the 49 coincident SeaBASS observations, we report a correlation coefficient (r) of 0.86, a root-meansquare error (RMSE) of 0.25, and a median absolute error (MAE) of 0.10. Statistically, a two-sample Kolmogorov– Smirnov test indicates that it is not possible to distinguish between MISR Chl and available SeaBASS in situ Chl values (p > 0.1). We also compare MODIS–Terra and MISR RA Chl statistically, over much broader regions. With about 1.5 million MISR–MODIS collocations having MODIS Chl < 1.5 mg m−3 , MISR and MODIS show very good agreement: r = 0.96, MAE = 0.09, and RMSE = 0.15.

The new dark water aerosol/Chl RA can retrieve Chl in low-Chl, case I waters, independent of other imagers such as MODIS, via a largely physical algorithm, compared to the commonly applied statistical ones. At a minimum, MISR’s multi-angle data should help reduce uncertainties in the MODIS–Terra ocean color retrieval where coincident measurements are made, while also allowing for a more robust retrieval of particle properties such as spectral single-scattering albedo.

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Atmospheric Composition Modeling and Analysis Program (ACMAP)