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Calibration and Validation of Remotely Sensed Observations of Ocean Color from a Moored Data Buoy

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  • 1 Plymouth Marine Laboratory, Prospect Place, Plymouth, United Kingdom
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Abstract

Satellite remote sensing of ocean color has the potential to map global surface phytoplankton concentrations at rates of up to once per day, providing wide-area data on a number of fundamental ocean processes relating to biological production, air–sea exchange of biogenic greenhouse gases, climate change, and living resources. There remain a number of problems in the technique, including the possible decline of satellite-sensor sensitivity over time and the difficulty of correcting for light detected by the satellite sensor that originated from the atmosphere. To overcome these problems, the new generation of ocean-color sensors must be coupled with an extensive calibration and validation program. In this study, the authors report on progress to develop a methodology to measure water-leaving radiance and incident irradiance from a moored buoy in order to effect vicarious calibration and validation of ocean-color satellite data at a rate of up to twice daily. The Plymouth Marine Bio-Optical Data Buoy, which became operational on 19 April 1997, is assessed against rigorous specifications for surface and in-water radiometers and is shown to be capable of making high-quality optical measurements for a fraction of the cost associated with other calibration–validation projects.

Corresponding author address: Matt H. Pinkerton, Plymouth Marine Laboratory, Prospect Place, Plymouth, Devon PL1 3DH, United Kingdom.

Email: M.Pinkerton@ccms.ac.uk

Abstract

Satellite remote sensing of ocean color has the potential to map global surface phytoplankton concentrations at rates of up to once per day, providing wide-area data on a number of fundamental ocean processes relating to biological production, air–sea exchange of biogenic greenhouse gases, climate change, and living resources. There remain a number of problems in the technique, including the possible decline of satellite-sensor sensitivity over time and the difficulty of correcting for light detected by the satellite sensor that originated from the atmosphere. To overcome these problems, the new generation of ocean-color sensors must be coupled with an extensive calibration and validation program. In this study, the authors report on progress to develop a methodology to measure water-leaving radiance and incident irradiance from a moored buoy in order to effect vicarious calibration and validation of ocean-color satellite data at a rate of up to twice daily. The Plymouth Marine Bio-Optical Data Buoy, which became operational on 19 April 1997, is assessed against rigorous specifications for surface and in-water radiometers and is shown to be capable of making high-quality optical measurements for a fraction of the cost associated with other calibration–validation projects.

Corresponding author address: Matt H. Pinkerton, Plymouth Marine Laboratory, Prospect Place, Plymouth, Devon PL1 3DH, United Kingdom.

Email: M.Pinkerton@ccms.ac.uk

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