Title: Uncertainty estimates of remote sensing reflectance derived from comparison of ocean color satellite data sets
Citation: REMOTE SENSING OF ENVIRONMENT vol. 177 p. 107-124
Publication Year: 2016
JRC N°: JRC100108
ISSN: 0034-4257
URI: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0034425716300426
DOI: 10.1016/j.rse.2016.02.014
Type: Articles in periodicals and books
Abstract: Assigning uncertainty to ocean-color satellite products is a requirement to allow informed use of these data. Here, uncertainty estimates are derived using the comparison on a 12th-degree grid of coincident daily records of the remote-sensing reflectance RRS obtained with the same processing chain from three satellite missions, MERIS, MODIS and SeaWiFS. The approach is spatially resolved and produces σ, the part of the RRS uncertainty budget associated with random effects. The global average of σ decreases with wavelength from approximately 0.7-0.9 10-3 sr-1 at 412 nm to 0.05-0.1 10-3 sr-1 at the red band, with uncertainties on σ evaluated as 20-30% between 412 and 555 nm, and 30-40% at 670 nm. The distribution of σ shows a restricted spatial variability and small variations with season, which makes the multi-annual global distribution of σ an estimate applicable to all retrievals of the considered missions. The comparison of σ with other uncertainty estimates derived from field data or with the support of algorithms provides a consistent picture. When translated in relative terms, and assuming a relatively low bias, the distribution of σ suggests that the objective of a 5% uncertainty is fulfilled between 412 and 490 nm for oligotrophic waters (chlorophyll-a concentration below 0.1 mg m-3). This study also provides comparison statistics. Spectrally, the mean absolute relative difference between RRS from different missions shows a characteristic U-shape with both ends at blue and red wavelengths inversely related to the amplitude of RRS. On average and for the considered data sets, SeaWiFS RRS tend to be slightly higher than MODIS RRS, which in turn appear higher than MERIS RRS. Biases between mission-specific RRS may exhibit a seasonal dependence, particularly in the subtropical belt.
JRC Directorate:Sustainable Resources

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