Ocean colour (OC) remote sensing is important for monitoring marine ecosystems. However, inverting the OC signal from the top-of-atmosphere (TOA) radiance measured by satellite sensors remains a challenge as the retrieval accuracy is highly dependent on the performance of the atmospheric correction as well as sensor calibration. In this study, the performances of four atmospheric correction (AC) algorithms, the Atmospheric and Radiometric Correction of Satellite Imagery (ARCSI), Atmospheric Correction for OLI ‘lite’ (ACOLITE), Landsat 8 Surface Reflectance (LSR) Climate Data Record (Landsat CDR), herein referred to as LaSRC (Landsat 8 Surface Reflectance Code), and the Sea-Viewing Wide Field-of-View Sensor (SeaWiFS) Data Analysis System (SeaDAS), implemented for Landsat 8 Operational Land Imager (OLI) data, were evaluated. The OLI-derived remote sensing reflectance (Rrs
) products (also known as Level-2 products) were tested against near-simultaneous in-situ data acquired from the OC component of the Aerosol Robotic Network (AERONET-OC). Analyses of the match-ups revealed that generic atmospheric correction methods (i.e., ARCSI and LaSRC), which perform reasonably well over land, provide inaccurate Level-2 products over coastal waters, in particular, in the blue bands. Between water-specific AC methods (i.e., SeaDAS and ACOLITE), SeaDAS was found to perform better over complex waters with root-mean-square error (RMSE) varying from 0.0013 to 0.0005 sr−1
for the 443 and 655 nm channels, respectively. An assessment of the effects of dominant environmental variables revealed AC retrieval errors were influenced by the solar zenith angle and wind speed for ACOLITE and SeaDAS in the 443 and 482 nm channels. Recognizing that the AERONET-OC sites are not representative of inland waters, extensive research and analyses are required to further evaluate the performance of various AC methods for high-resolution imagers like Landsat 8 and Sentinel-2 under a broad range of aquatic/atmospheric conditions.
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