Studying phytoplankton functional types (PFTs) from space is possible due to recent advances in remote sensing. Though a variety of products are available, the limited number of wavelengths available compared to the number of model parameters needed to be retrieved is still a major problem in using ocean-color data for PFT retrievals. Here, we investigated which band placement could improve retrievals of three particular PFTs (diatoms, coccolithophores and cyanobacteria). In addition to analyzing dominant spectral features in the absorption spectra of the target PFTs, two previously-developed methods using measured spectra were applied to simulated data. Such a synthetic dataset allowed for significantly increasing the number of scenarios and enabled a full control over parameters causing spectral changes. We evaluated the chosen band placement by applying an adapted ocean reflectance inversion, as utilized in the generalized inherent optical properties (GIOP) retrieval. Results show that the optimal band settings depend on the method applied to determine the bands placement, as well as on the internal variability of the dataset investigated. Therefore, continuous hyperspectral instruments would be most beneficial for discriminating multiple PFTs, though a small improvement in spectral sampling and resolution does not significantly modify the results. Bands, which could be added to future instruments (e.g., Ocean and Land Colour Instrument (OLCI) instrument on the upcoming Sentinel-3B,-3C,-3D, etc., and further satellites) in order to enhance PFT retrieval capabilities, were also determined.
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