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Remote Sens. 2015, 7(12), 16756-16777;

Bottom Reflectance in Ocean Color Satellite Remote Sensing for Coral Reef Environments

Biophysical Remote Sensing Research Centre, School of Geography, Planning and Environmental Management, University of Queensland, St Lucia, QLD 4072, Australia
Remote Sensing and Satellite Research Group, Department of Imaging and Applied Physics, Curtin University, Perth, WA 6845, Australia
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Code 616, Greenbelt, MD 20771, USA
Science Applications International Corporation, 1710 SAIC Drive, McLean, VA 22102, USA
Australian Institute of Marine Science, PMB 3, Townville, QLD 4810, Australia
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Deepak R. Mishra, Richard W. Gould, Richard Gloaguen and Prasad S. Thenkabail
Received: 25 August 2015 / Revised: 12 November 2015 / Accepted: 24 November 2015 / Published: 9 December 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing in Coastal Environments)
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Most ocean color algorithms are designed for optically deep waters, where the seafloor has little or no effect on remote sensing reflectance. This can lead to inaccurate retrievals of inherent optical properties (IOPs) in optically shallow water environments. Here, we investigate in situ hyperspectral bottom reflectance signatures and their separability for coral reef waters, when observed at the spectral resolutions of MODIS and SeaWiFS sensors. We use radiative transfer modeling to calculate the effects of bottom reflectance on the remote sensing reflectance signal, and assess detectability and discrimination of common coral reef bottom classes by clustering modeled remote sensing reflectance signals. We assess 8280 scenarios, including four IOPs, 23 depths and 45 bottom classes at MODIS and SeaWiFS bands. Our results show: (i) no significant contamination (Rrscorr < 0.0005) of bottom reflectance on the spectrally-averaged remote sensing reflectance signal at depths >17 m for MODIS and >19 m for SeaWiFS for the brightest spectral reflectance substrate (light sand) in clear reef waters; and (ii) bottom cover classes can be combined into two distinct groups, “light” and “dark”, based on the modeled surface reflectance signals. This study establishes that it is possible to efficiently improve parameterization of bottom reflectance and water-column IOP retrievals in shallow water ocean color models for coral reef environments. View Full-Text
Keywords: MODIS; SeaWiFS; optically shallow water; radiative transfer modeling; spectral separability; cluster analysis MODIS; SeaWiFS; optically shallow water; radiative transfer modeling; spectral separability; cluster analysis

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Reichstetter, M.; Fearns, P.R.C.S.; Weeks, S.J.; McKinna, L.I.W.; Roelfsema, C.; Furnas, M. Bottom Reflectance in Ocean Color Satellite Remote Sensing for Coral Reef Environments. Remote Sens. 2015, 7, 16756-16777.

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