Laser remote sensing calibration of ocean color satellite data

R. Barbini, F. Colao, R. Fantoni, L. Fiorani, N. V. Kolodnikova, A. Palucci


world ocean: in fact, those processes dramatically affect the climatic equilibrium of our planet. For this reason,
many advanced active and passive remote sensors have been used to study phytoplankton dynamics, since such
phenomena are thought to be responsible for the sequestration of atmospheric carbon dioxide, one of the most
important greenhouse gases. In this paper, one laser system and three satellite radiometers routinely used for the
study of the phytoplankton dynamics will be briefly reviewed. Satellite sensors have been preferred to airborne
sensors because, to our knowledge, ocean color airborne radiometers have not been operated in Antarctica, at
least not throughout the whole lapse of time examined in this study. Particular focus was on the laser system
(ELF) and on a specific satellite radiometer (SeaWiFS). ELF is based on the laser-induced fluorescence of phytoplankton
pigments and was conceived for the Italian expeditions to Antarctica. The goal of SeaWiFS is to provide
the Earth science community with quantitative data on the global ocean bio-optical properties. Such satellite
radiometer has been calibrated with in situ data mainly acquired in non polar regions. This is why a comparison
between ELF and SeaWiFS measurements of chlorophyll-a surface concentrations in the Southern Ocean
during the austral summer 1997-1998 was believed to be significant. Our results indicate that SeaWiFS overestimates
high concentrations and underestimates low concentrations. In order to correct this behavior, the chlorophyll-
a bio-optical algorithm of SeaWiFS has been recalibrated according to the measurements of ELF, thus providing
a new estimation of the primary production in the Southern Ocean.


LIDAR fluorosensor;satellite radiometer;SeaWiFS calibration;chlorophyll-a;primary production;Antarctica

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Published by INGV, Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia - ISSN: 2037-416X