Atmospheric remote sensing


Figure 1: The sunphotometer mounted on the roof of the Plymouth Marine Laboratory. From these measurements useful atmospheric correction parameters such as the Aerosol Optical Thickness (AOT), aerosol size distribution and water vapour column abundance can be calculated.

Correcting the atmospheric effects in remotely sensed data of the ocean is imperative if we are to be able to analyse these data in any depth. Over the ocean 95 % of the signal retrieved by the orbiting sensor is due to the atmosphere and therefore needs to be removed before quantative analyses can begin. Plymouth Marine Laboratory developed the case 2 waters atmospheric correction algorithm that is used in the European Space Agency's MERIS sensor onboard the ENVISAT platform. We have also developed novel atmospheric correction algorithms to allow ocean colour data to be determined from airborne CASI data, with particular interest to estuarine studies. This work is enabled through regular data collection campaigns both at sea and in coastal and estuarine environments. Our sunphotometer data are used within the NASA co-ordinated project, AERONET towards validating satellite retrievals of aerosol optical properties.

The main research staff involved in this area are Tim Smyth and Peter Land with financial support from the NERC and the EU.

CASI River Tamar

Figure 2: CASI data over the River Tamar estuary in the U.K. (left) and the atmospherically corrected ocean colour response at 550 nm (right).

Recent publications

Shutler, J. D., P. E. Land, T. J. Smyth and S. B. Groom (2007) Extending the MODIS 1 km ocean colour atmospheric correction to the MODIS 500m bands and 500m chlorophyll-a estimation towards coastal and estuarine monitoring, Remote Sensing of Environment, 107, 521-532, doi:10.1016/j.rse.2006.10.004.

Land, P.E. (2004), A processing package for atmospheric correction of compact airborne spectrographic imager (CASI) imagery over water including a novel sunglint correction, in NERC Airborne Remote Sensing Facility Workshop, RSPSoc Conference, Aberdeen, U.K.

All materials copyright © Plymouth Marine Laboratory 2018.

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