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Applied Optics

Applied Optics


  • Vol. 27, Iss. 5 — Mar. 1, 1988
  • pp: 862–871

Exact Rayleigh scattering calculations for use with the Nimbus-7 Coastal Zone Color Scanner

Howard R. Gordon, James W. Brown, and Robert H. Evans  »View Author Affiliations

Applied Optics, Vol. 27, Issue 5, pp. 862-871 (1988)

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For improved analysis of Coastal Zone Color Scanner (CZCS) imagery, the radiance reflected from a plane-parallel atmosphere and flat sea surface in the absence of aerosols (Rayleigh radiance) has been computed with an exact multiple scattering code, i.e., including polarization. The results indicate that the single scattering approximation normally used to compute this radiance can cause errors of up to 5% for small and moderate solar zenith angles. At large solar zenith angles, such as encountered in the analysis of high-latitude imagery, the errors can become much larger, e.g., >10% in the blue band. The single scattering error also varies along individual scan lines. Comparison with multiple scattering computations using scalar transfer theory, i.e., ignoring polarization, show that scalar theory can yield errors of approximately the same magnitude as single scattering when compared with exact computations at small to moderate values of the solar zenith angle. The exact computations can be easily incorporated into CZCS processing algorithms, and, for application to future instruments with higher radiometric sensitivity, a scheme is developed with which the effect of variations in the surface pressure could be easily and accurately included in the exact computation of the Rayleigh radiance. Direct application of these computations to CZCS imagery indicates that accurate atmospheric corrections can be made with solar zenith angles at least as large as 65° and probably up to at least 70° with a more sensitive instrument. This suggests that the new Rayleigh radiance algorithm should produce more consistent pigment retrievals, particularly at high latitudes.

© 1988 Optical Society of America

Original Manuscript: August 27, 1987
Published: March 1, 1988

Howard R. Gordon, James W. Brown, and Robert H. Evans, "Exact Rayleigh scattering calculations for use with the Nimbus-7 Coastal Zone Color Scanner," Appl. Opt. 27, 862-871 (1988)

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  1. W. A. Hovis et al., “Nimbus 7 Coastal Zone Color Scanner: System Description and Initial Imagery,” Science 210, 60 (1980). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
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  21. The smallest value of ϑ in the set is 1.71°. For values of ϑ less than this, the principle of reciprocity11 was used to generate I0(0°,ϑ0) from I0(ϑ,0°). This requires one additional interpolation. Since I is a slowly varying function of ϑ near 0° this interpolation introduces little additional error; however, the error there may be somewhat >0.1%.
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  24. Equation (2) is not the exact solution of the SRTE for single scattering. Rather, it is the limit of the exact solution as τr → 0.
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  26. H. R. Gordon, J. W. Brown, O. B. Brown, R. H. Evans, D. K. Clark, “Nimbus 7 CZCS: Reduction of Its Radiometric Sensitivity with Time,” Appl. Opt. 22, 3929 (1983). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
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  29. The normalized water-leaving radiance9 is defined according to Lw = [Lw]N cosϑ0t(ϑ0), where t(ϑ0) is the diffuse transmittance of the atmosphere. [Lw]N approximates the value of Lw that would be observed in the absence of the atmosphere with the sun at the zenith. Its use allows quantitative comparison of imagery acquired at different locations.
  30. The water-leaving radiance observed at the satellite is tLw, and since [Lw]N = Lw/cosϑ0t(ϑ0) the digitization interval for [Lw]N is much coarser than that for tLw, e.g., for ϑ0 = 65° at sensor gain 4 one dc corresponds to 0.0895, 0.0460, and 0.0367 mW/cm2μm sr in [Lw]N, respectively, at 443, 520, and 550 nm.
  31. When the CZCS saturates on scanning across a bright cloud from west to east, there is a residual effect due to electronic overshoot that can be observed for 50–100 pixels to the east of the cloud.
  32. Recall that the CZCS is in an ascending orbit with the node occurring near local noon. Therefore the values of ϑ0 associated with the imagery refer to times near local noon, i.e., the smallest values of ϑ0 for the entire day.
  33. D. K. Clark, “Phytoplankton Algorithms for the Nimbus-7 CZCS,” in Oceanography from Space, J. R. F. Gower, Ed. (Plenum, New York, 1981), pp. 227–238. [CrossRef]

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