Many spaceborne sensors have been deployed to image the ocean in the visible portion of the spectrum. Information regarding the concentration of water constituents is contained in the water-leaving radiance—the radiance that is backscattered out of the water and subsequently propagates to the top of the atmosphere. Recognizing that it depends on the viewing and Sun geometry, ways have been sought to normalize this radiance to a single Sun-viewing geometry—forming the normalized water-leaving radiance. This requires understanding both the bidirectional nature of the upwelling radiance just beneath the surface and the interaction of this radiance with the air–water interface. I believe that the latter has been incorrectly computed in the past when a water surface roughened by the wind is considered. The presented computation suggests that, for wind speeds as high as 20 m/s, the influence of surface roughness is small for a wide range of Sun-viewing geometries, i.e., the transmittance of the (whitecap-free) air–water interface is nearly identical (within 0.01) to that for a flat interface.
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