Detection of blue-absorbing aerosols using near infrared and visible (ocean color) remote sensing observations
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An algorithm is presented, which is designed to identify blue-absorbing aerosols from near infrared and visible remote-sensing observations, as they are in particular collected by satellite ocean color sensors. The technique basically consists in determining an error budget at one wavelength around 510 nm, based on a first-guess estimation of the atmospheric path reflectance as if the atmosphere was of a maritime type, and on a reasonable hypothesis about the marine signal at this wavelength. The budget also includes the typical calibration uncertainty and the natural variability in the ocean optical properties. Identification of blue-absorbing aerosols is then achieved when the error budget demonstrates a significant over-correction of the atmospheric signal when using non-absorbing maritime aerosols. Implementation of the algorithm is presented, and its application to real observations by the MERIS and SeaWiFS ocean color sensors is discussed. The results demonstrate the skill of the algorithm in various regions of the ocean where absorbing aerosols are present, and for two different sensors. A validation of the results is also performed against in situ data from the AERONET, and further illustrates the skill of the algorithm and its general applicability.
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