Multi-satellite time series of inherent optical properties in the California Current

Kahru, M, Lee Z, Kudela RM, Manzano-Sarabia M, Mitchell GB.  2015.  Multi-satellite time series of inherent optical properties in the California Current. Deep-Sea Research Part Ii-Topical Studies in Oceanography. 112:91-106.

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Satellite ocean color radiometry is a powerful method to study ocean biology but the relationships between satellite measurements and the in situ ocean properties are not well understood. Moreover, the measurements made with one satellite sensor may not be directly compatible with similar measurements from another sensor. We estimate inherent optical properties (IOPs) in the California Current by applying empirically optimized versions of the Quasi-Analytical Algorithm (QAA) of Lee et al. (2002) to satellite remote sensing reflectance (Rrs) from four ocean color sensors (OCTS, SeaWiFS, MODISA and MERIS). The set of estimated IOPs includes the total absorption coefficient at 490 nm (a490), phytoplankton absorption coefficient at 440 nm (aph440), absorption by dissolved and detrital organic matter at 440 nm (adg440) and particle backscattering coefficient at 490 nm (bbp490). The empirical inversion models are created by minimizing the deviations between satellite match-ups with in situ measurements and between the estimates of individual overlapping satellite sensors. The derived empirical algorithms were then applied to satellite Level-3 daily Rrs to create merged multi-sensor time series of the near-surface optical characteristics in the California Current region for a time period of over 16 years (November 1996-December 2012). Due to the limited number of in situ match-ups and their uneven distribution as well as the large errors in the satellite-derived Rrs, the uncertainty in the retrieved lOPs is still significant and difficult to quantify. The merged time series show the dominant annual cycle but also significant variability at interannual time scales. The ratio of adg440 to aph440 is around 1 in the transition zone, is > 1 in the coastal zone and generally