Validation of a SeaWiFS dust-correction methodology in the Mediterranean Sea: Identification of an algorithm-switching criterion
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A spectral matching algorithm (SMA) that allows atmospheric correction in the presence of dust aerosols is applied to SeaWiFS imagery in the northwest Mediterranean Sea. The goal is to find criteria that could be used to identify SMA target pixels and to gain insights into the method's accuracy relative to the standard SeaWiFS processing scheme (STD). This work also represents the first validation of SMA using in situ data. The validation dataset includes water-leaving radiances collected from both a fixed buoy site and from a ship during the Advanced Optical Properties Experiment (AOPEX) cruise in August 2004. Supplementary information was provided by the ship LIDAR and coastal AERONET stations in Villefranche (France) and Blida(Algeria) that recorded aerosol conditions near the buoy and proximal to the dust sources, respectively. Backward aerosol transport trajectories were also available for the AERONET sites, allowing identification of potential dust sources, especially for aerosol layers observed by the LIDAR. Over the study period, four aerosol events affected the buoy vicinity, but SMA retrievals proved superior to standard processing results only when dust was dominant, rather than when dust was simply present. The conditions appropriate for an SMA application could be defined using AERONET parameters. They are a combination of high aerosol optical depth Ta and low Ångström exponent α (or Ta /α > 0.2). Similar results are obtained using the equivalent SeaWiFS parameters produced by the STD method although the threshold value is different. Since it is preferable to apply the criterion on a per-pixel basis prior to atmospheric correction to select SMA or STD processing, an analogous test using aerosol model-independent quantities derived from SeaWiFS data is proposed. Thus, SMA and STD processing can be applied to a single image, where appropriate.
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