OSA's Digital Library

Applied Optics

Applied Optics


  • Vol. 38, Iss. 36 — Dec. 20, 1999
  • pp: 7442–7455

Estimation of the remote-sensing reflectance from above-surface measurements

Curtis D. Mobley  »View Author Affiliations

Applied Optics, Vol. 38, Issue 36, pp. 7442-7455 (1999)

View Full Text Article

Enhanced HTML    Acrobat PDF (311 KB)

Browse Journals / Lookup Meetings

Browse by Journal and Year


Lookup Conference Papers

Close Browse Journals / Lookup Meetings

Article Tools



The remote-sensing reflectance Rrs is not directly measurable, and various methodologies have been employed in its estimation. I review the radiative transfer foundations of several commonly used methods for estimating Rrs, and errors associated with estimating Rrs by removal of surface-reflected sky radiance are evaluated using the Hydrolight radiative transfer numerical model. The dependence of the sea surface reflectance factor ρ, which is not an inherent optical property of the surface, on sky conditions, wind speed, solar zenith angle, and viewing geometry is examined. If ρ is not estimated accurately, significant errors can occur in the estimated Rrs for near-zenith Sun positions and for high wind speeds, both of which can give considerable Sun glitter effects. The numerical simulations suggest that a viewing direction of 40 deg from the nadir and 135 deg from the Sun is a reasonable compromise among conflicting requirements. For this viewing direction, a value of ρ ≈ 0.028 is acceptable only for wind speeds less than 5 m s-1. For higher wind speeds, curves are presented for the determination of ρ as a function of solar zenith angle and wind speed. If the sky is overcast, a value of ρ ≈ 0.028 is used at all wind speeds.

© 1999 Optical Society of America

OCIS Codes
(010.4450) Atmospheric and oceanic optics : Oceanic optics
(030.5620) Coherence and statistical optics : Radiative transfer
(120.5700) Instrumentation, measurement, and metrology : Reflection
(280.0280) Remote sensing and sensors : Remote sensing and sensors

Original Manuscript: April 19, 1999
Revised Manuscript: September 1, 1999
Published: December 20, 1999

Curtis D. Mobley, "Estimation of the remote-sensing reflectance from above-surface measurements," Appl. Opt. 38, 7442-7455 (1999)

Sort:  Author  |  Year  |  Journal  |  Reset  


  1. C. D. Mobley, Light and Water: Radiative Transfer in Natural Waters (Academic, San Diego, Calif., 1994).
  2. C. D. Mobley, B. Gentili, H. R. Gordon, Z. Jin, G. W. Kattawar, A. Morel, P. Reinersman, K. Stamnes, R. H. Stavn, “Comparison of numerical models for computing underwater light fields,” Appl. Opt. 32, 7484–7504 (1993). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  3. C. D. Mobley, Hydrolight 4.0 Users’ Guide, Second Printing (Sequoia Scientific, Inc., Redmond, Wash., 1998).
  4. J. L. Mueller, R. W. Austin, “Ocean optics protocols for SeaWiFS validation, revision 1,” SeaWiFS Technical Report Series, Vol. 25, , S. B. Hooker, E. R. Firestone, J. G. Acker, eds. (National Technical Information Service, Springfield, Va., 1995).
  5. K. L. Carder, R. G. Steward, “A remote-sensing reflectance model of a red-tide dinoflagellate off west Florida,” Limnol. Oceanogr. 30(2), 286–298 (1985).
  6. J. R. V. Zaneveld, “An asymptotic closure theory of irradiance in the sea and its inversion to obtain the inherent optical properties,” Limnol. Oceanogr. 34, 1442–1452 (1989).
  7. R. W. Preisendorfer, C. D. Mobley, “Albedos and glitter patterns of a wind-roughened sea surface,” J. Phys. Oceanogr. 16, 1293–1316 (1986). [CrossRef]
  8. H. R. Gordon, O. B. Brown, R. H. Evans, J. W. Brown, R. C. Smith, K. S. Baker, D. C. Clark, “A semianalytic radiance model of ocean color,” J. Geophys. Res. 93(D9), 10,909–10,924 (1988). [CrossRef]
  9. A. Morel, B. Gentili, “Diffuse reflectance of oceanic waters. II. Bidirectional aspects,” Appl. Opt. 32, 6864–6879 (1993). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  10. A. Morel, K. J. Voss, B. Gentili, “Bidirectional reflectance of oceanic waters: a comparison of modeled and measured upward radiance fields,” J. Geophys. Res. 100(C7), 13,143–13,150 (1995). [CrossRef]
  11. A. W. Harrison, C. A. Coombes, “An opaque cloud cover model of sky short wavelength radiance,” Sol. Energy 41(4), 387–392 (1988). [CrossRef]
  12. R. W. Austin, “Inherent spectral radiance signatures of the ocean surface,” in S. Q. Duntley, R. W. Austin, W. H. Wilson, C. F. Edgerton, S. E. Moran, “Ocean color analysis,” (Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla, Calif., 1974).
  13. B. Fougnie, R. Frouin, P. Lecomte, P.-Y. Deschamps, “Reduction of skylight reflection effects in the above-water measurement of diffuse marine reflectance,” Appl. Opt. 38, 3844–3856 (1999). [CrossRef]
  14. P. K. Acharya, A. Berk, L. S. Bernstein, M. W. Matthew, S. M. Adler-Golden, D. C. Robertson, G. P. Anderson, J. H. Chetwynd, F. X. Kneizys, E. P. Shettle, L. W. Abreu, W. O. Gallery, J. E. A. Selby, S. A. Clough, “MODTRAN user’s manual versions 3.7 and 4.0” (Air Force Research Laboratory, Space Vehicles Directorate, Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass., 1998).
  15. A. Morel, “Light and marine photosynthesis: a spectral model with geochemical and climatological implications,” Prog. Oceanogr. 26, 263–306 (1991). [CrossRef]
  16. H. R. Gordon, A. Morel, “Remote assessment of ocean color for interpretation of satellite visible imagery, a review,” in Lecture Notes on Coastal and Estuarine Studies (Springer Verlag, New York, 1983), Vol. 4. [CrossRef]
  17. M. Sydor, R. A. Arnone, R. W. Gould, G. E. Terrie, S. D. Ladner, C. G. Wood, “Remote-sensing technique for determination of the volume absorption coefficient of turbid water,” Appl. Opt. 37, 4944–4950 (1998). [CrossRef]
  18. D. A. Toole, D. A. Siegel, D. W. Menzies, J. J. Neumann, R. C. Smith, “Remote sensing reflectance determinations in coastal environments—impacts of instrumental characteristics and environmental variability,” Appl. Opt. (to be published).
  19. C. H. Whitlock, L. R. Poole, J. W. Usry, W. M. Houghton, W. G. Witte, W. D. Morris, E. A. Gurganus, “Comparison of reflectance with backscatter and absorption parameters for turbid waters,” Appl. Opt. 20, 517–522 (1981). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  20. R. P. Bukata, J. H. Jerome, K. Ya. Kondratyev, D. V. Pozdnyakov, Optical Properties and Remote Sensing of Inland and Coastal Waters (CRC Press, New York, 1995).
  21. Z. P. Lee, K. L. Carder, R. G. Steward, T. G. Peacock, C. O. Davis, J. L. Mueller, “Remote-sensing reflectance and inherent optical properties of oceanic waters derived from above-water measurements,” in Ocean Optics XIII, S. G. Ackleson, R. Frouin, ed., Proc. SPIE2963, 160–166 (1997). [CrossRef]
  22. C. D. Mobley, D. Stramski, “Origins of variability in remote-sensing reflectances,” (Sequoia Scientific, Inc., Redmond, Wash., 1997).
  23. M. Sydor, R. A. Arnone, “Effect of suspended particulate and dissolved organic matter on remote sensing of coastal and riverine waters,” Appl. Opt. 36, 6905–6912 (1997). [CrossRef]

Cited By

Alert me when this paper is cited

OSA is able to provide readers links to articles that cite this paper by participating in CrossRef's Cited-By Linking service. CrossRef includes content from more than 3000 publishers and societies. In addition to listing OSA journal articles that cite this paper, citing articles from other participating publishers will also be listed.

« Previous Article  |  Next Article »

OSA is a member of CrossRef.

CrossCheck Deposited