Assessment of uncertainty in the water-leaving reflectance determined by three satellite ocean color sensors (MERIS, SeaWiFS, MODIS-A) at an offshore site in the Mediterranean Sea (BOUSSOLE project)
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The match-up of satellite-derived reflectances with in situ observations is crucial to evaluate their quality and temporal stability. To contribute to this effort, a project has been set up to collect a data set of in situ radiometric and bio-optical quantities, in support to satellite ocean color calibration and validation. The project has been named ‘‘BOUSSOLE’’, and one of its key elements is a deep-sea optics mooring collecting data on a near-continuous basis since September 2003. This buoy is deployed in the deep clear waters of the northwestern Mediterranean Sea, and is visited on a monthly basis for servicing and acquisition of complementary data. The characteristics of the work area establish the site as a satisfactory location for validating satellite ocean color observations. A description of the data processing protocols is provided, followed by an analysis of the uncertainty of the buoy radiometry measurements. The results of a match-up analysis of the marine reflectances, diffuse attenuation coefficients, and chlorophyll concentrations for three major missions, i.e., MERIS, SeaWiFS, and MODIS-A, are then analyzed. They show poor performances for the bluest band (412 nm) of the three sensors, and performances within requirements at 443 and 490 nm for SeaWiFS and MODIS-A. These results suggest that a vicarious calibration should be introduced for the MERIS sensor. This analysis also demonstrates that a major effort is still required to improve atmospheric correction procedures whatever the mission.
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