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Sensitivity of multiangle, multispectral polarimetric remote sensing over open...

Chowdhary, J., B. Cairns, F. Waquet, K. Knobelspiesse, M. Ottaviani, J. Redemann, L. Travis, and M. Mishchenko (2012), Sensitivity of multiangle, multispectral polarimetric remote sensing over open oceans to water-leaving radiance: Analyses of RSP data acquired during the MILAGRO campaign, Remote Sensing of Environment, 118, 284-308, doi:10.1016/j.rse.2011.11.003.

For remote sensing of aerosol over the ocean, there is a contribution from light scattered under water. The brightness and spectrum of this light depends on the biomass content of the ocean, such that variations in the color of the ocean can be observed even from space. Rayleigh scattering by pure sea water, and Rayleigh–Gans type scattering by plankton, causes this light to be polarized with a distinctive angular distribution. To study the contribution of this underwater light polarization to multiangle, multispectral observations of polarized reflectance over ocean, we previously developed a hydrosol model for use in underwater light scattering computations that produces realistic variations of the ocean color and the underwater light polarization signature of pure sea water. In this work we review this hydrosol model, include a correction for the spectrum of the particulate scattering coefficient and backscattering efficiency, and discuss its sensitivity to variations in colored dissolved organic matter (CDOM) and in the scattering function of marine particulates. We then apply this model to measurements of total and polarized reflectance that were acquired over open ocean during the MILAGRO field campaign by the airborne Research Scanning Polarimeter (RSP). Analyses show that our hydrosol model faithfully reproduces the water-leaving contributions to RSP reflectance, and that the sensitivity of these contributions to Chlorophyll a concentration [Chl] in the ocean varies with the azimuth, height, and wavelength of observations. We also show that the impact of variations in CDOM on the polarized reflectance observed by the RSP at low altitude is comparable to or much less than the standard error of this reflectance whereas their effects in total reflectance may be substantial (i.e. up to > 30%). Finally, we extend our study of polarized reflectance variations with [Chl] and CDOM to include results for simulated spaceborne observations.

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