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Evaluation of satellite-based algorithms to estimate photosynthetically available radiation (PAR) reaching the ocean surface at high northern latitudes

TitleEvaluation of satellite-based algorithms to estimate photosynthetically available radiation (PAR) reaching the ocean surface at high northern latitudes
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsLaliberte J., Belanger S., Frouin R.
JournalRemote Sensing of Environment
Date Published2016/10
Type of ArticleArticle
ISBN Number0034-4257
Accession NumberWOS:000383827800016
Keywordsarctic clouds; Arctic Ocean; carbon-monoxide; Clouds and sea ice; ice; ocean color; Photochemical processes; photoproduction; Photosynthetically available radiation; phytoplankton; Primary; production; radiances; reflectance; retrieval; solar irradiance model; southeastern beaufort sea

Two satellite-based methods to estimate daily averaged photosynthetically available radiation (PAR) at the ocean surface are evaluated at high northern latitudes. The first method employs a precomputed Look-Up-Table (LUT) generated from radiative transfer simulations. The LUT associates spectral irradiance reaching the surface to a given set of input parameters, namely solar zenith angle, cloud optical thickness, cloud fraction, ozone concentration, and surface albedo. The second method, as implemented by NASA's Ocean Biology Processing Group (OBPG) in the standard Ocean Color data processing chain, expresses the energy budget of the atmosphere-surface-ocean system via a simple radiative transfer model. The performance of these methods is evaluated using an extensive in situ PAR dataset collected in the Arctic Ocean between 1998 and 2014, with daily values ranging from 0.08 to 61.07 Em(-2) d(-1). A methodology is developed to compare in situ measurements and satellite products of different spatial and temporal resolution. Agreement is generally good between satellite-derived estimates and ship-based data and between methods. Specifically, both methods yield a small positive bias of 6% and 2% and a relative uncertainty larger than that observed at low latitude, with a root mean squared error (RMSE) of 33% and 20% for the LUT and OPBG methods, respectively. This is attributed to the peculiar environmental conditions encountered in the Arctic, namely low solar elevation, changing surface albedo due to sea ice, and persistent cloudiness. The RMSE difference among methods is due to the high temporal resolution (3 h) of the International Satellite Cloud Climatology Project (ISCCP) LUT input not fully compensating for its low spatial resolution (280 km grid cells). The LUT method has the major advantage of providing PAR estimates in all conditions, including ice-covered regions, while the OBPG method is currently limited to open waters and a solar zenith angle lower than 83 degrees. Consequently, the OBPG method may not account for as much as 38% of PAR reaching the Arctic ocean surface annually. Both methods have the potential to provide useful PAR estimates just below the ice, by including information about ice transmittance. (C) 2016 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Short TitleRemote Sens. Environ.
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