A method is evaluated for estimating the absorption coefficient a and the backscattering coefficient b<sub>b</sub> from measurements of the upward and downward irradiances E<sub>u</sub>(z) and E<sub>d</sub>(z). With this method, the reflectance ratio R(z) and the downward diffuse attenuation coefficient K<sub>d</sub>(z) obtained from E<sub>u</sub>(z) and E<sub>d</sub>(z) are used to estimate the inherent optical properties R<sub>∞</sub> and K<sub>∞</sub> that are the asymptotic values of R(z) and K<sub>d</sub>(z), respectively. For an assumed scattering phase function β˜, there are unique correlations between the values of R<sub>∞</sub> and K<sub>∞</sub> and those of a and b<sub>b</sub> that can be derived from the radiative transfer equation. Good estimates of a and the Gordon parameter G = b<sub>b</sub>/(a + b<sub>b</sub>) can be obtained from R<sub>∞</sub> and K<sub>∞</sub> if the true scattering phase function is not greatly different from the assumed function. The method works best in deep, homogeneous waters, but can be applied to some cases of stratified waters. To improve performance in shallow waters where bottom effects are important, the deep- and shallow-measurement reflectance models also are developed.
© 1997 Optical Society of America
Robert A. Leathers and Norman J. McCormick, "Ocean inherent optical property estimation from irradiances," Appl. Opt. 36, 8685-8698 (1997)