Abstract

In the algorithm for the atmospheric correction of coastal zone color scanner (CZCS) imagery, it is assumed that the sea surface is flat. Simulations are carried out to assess the error incurred when the CZCS-type algorithm is applied to a realistic ocean in which the surface is roughened by the wind. In situations where there is no direct Sun glitter (either a large solar zenith angle or the sensor tilted away from the specular image of the Sun), the following conclusions appear justified: (1) the error induced by ignoring the surface roughness is ≲ 1 CZCS digital count for wind speeds up to ≈ 17 m/s, and therefore can be ignored for this sensor; (2) the roughness-induced error is much more strongly dependent on the wind speed than on the wave shadowing, suggesting that surface effects can be adequately dealt with without precise knowledge of the shadowing; and (3) the error induced by ignoring the Rayleigh–aerosol interaction is usually larger than that caused by ignoring the surface roughness, suggesting that in refining algorithms for future sensors more effort should be placed on dealing with the Rayleigh–aerosol interaction than on the roughness of the sea surface.

© 1992 Optical Society of America

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