09 Mar 2023
 | 09 Mar 2023
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal ESSD.

A synthetic database generated by radiative transfer simulations in support of studies in ocean optics and optical remote sensing of the global ocean

Hubert Loisel, Daniel Schaffer Ferreira Jorge, Rick A. Reynolds, and Dariusz Stramski

Abstract. Radiative transfer (RT) simulations have long been used to study relationships between the inherent optical properties (IOPs) of seawater and light fields within and leaving the ocean from which the ocean apparent optical properties (AOPs) can be calculated. For example, inverse models to estimate IOPs from ocean color radiometric measurements have been developed or validated using results of RT simulations. Here we describe the development of a new synthetic optical database based on hyperspectral RT simulations across the spectral range from the near-ultraviolet to near-infrared performed with the HydroLight radiative transfer code. The key component of this development was the generation of the synthetic dataset of seawater IOPs which served as input to RT simulations. Compared to similar developments of optical databases in the past, the present dataset of IOPs is characterized by probability distributions of IOPs that are consistent with global distributions representative of vast areas of open ocean pelagic environments and coastal regions covering a broad range of optical water types. The generation of the synthetic data of IOPs associated with particulate and dissolved constituents of seawater was driven largely by an extensive set of field measurements of the phytoplankton absorption coefficient collected in diverse oceanic environments. Overall, the synthetic IOP dataset consists of 3320 combinations of IOPs. Additionally, the pure seawater IOPs were assumed following recent recommendations. The RT simulations were performed using 3320 combinations of input IOPs assuming vertical homogeneity within an infinitely deep ocean. These input IOPs were used in three simulation scenarios associated with assumptions about inelastic radiative processes in the water column and three simulation scenarios associated with sun zenith angle. Specifically, the simulations were made assuming no inelastic processes, the presence of Raman scattering by water molecules, and the presence of both Raman scattering and fluorescence of chlorophyll-a pigment. Fluorescence of colored dissolved organic matter was omitted from all simulations. For each of these three simulation scenarios, the simulations were made for three sun zenith angles of 0°, 30, and 60° assuming clear skies, standard atmosphere, and wind speed of 5 m s−1. Thus, overall 29880 RT simulations were performed. The output results of these simulations include the radiance distributions, plane and scalar irradiances, and the whole set of AOPs including the remote-sensing reflectance, vertical diffuse attenuation coefficients, and mean cosines where all optical variables are reported in the spectral range from 350 to 750 nm at 5 nm intervals for different depths between the sea surface and 50 m. The consistency of this new synthetic database has been assessed through comparisons with in situ data and previously developed empirical relationships involving the IOPs and AOPs.

Hubert Loisel et al.

Status: open (until 06 May 2023)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Review of the manuscript “A synthetic database generated by radiative transfer simulations in support of studies in ocean optics and optical remote sensing of the global ocean”, by Loisel et al.', Jaime Pitarch, 15 Mar 2023 reply
  • RC2: 'Comment on essd-2023-80', Anonymous Referee #2, 27 Mar 2023 reply

Hubert Loisel et al.

Data sets

A synthetic database of hyperspectral ocean optical properties H. Loisel, D. S. F. Jorge, R. A. Reynolds, and D. Stramski

Hubert Loisel et al.


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Short summary
Studies of light fields in aquatic environments require data from radiative transfer simulations that are free of measurement errors. In contrast to previously published synthetic optical databases, the present database was created by simulations covering a broad range of seawater optical properties that exhibit probability distributions consistent with global ocean dominated by open-ocean pelagic environments. This database is intended to support ocean color science and applications.