National Aeronautics and Space Administration


Date of this Version



Remote Sensing of Environment 114 (2010) 2238–2247; doi:10.1016/j.rse.2010.04.027


The NASA Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer onboard the Aqua platform (MODIS-Aqua) provides a viable data stream for operational water quality monitoring of Chesapeake Bay. Marine geophysical products from MODIS-Aqua depend on the efficacy of the atmospheric correction process, which can be problematic in coastal environments. The operational atmospheric correction algorithm for MODISAqua requires an assumption of negligible near-infrared water-leaving radiance, nLw(NIR). This assumption progressively degrades with increasing turbidity and, as such, methods exist to account for non-negligible nLw(NIR) within the atmospheric correction process or to use alternate radiometric bands where the assumption is satisfied, such as those positioned within shortwave infrared (SWIR) region of the spectrum. We evaluated a decade-long time-series of nLw(λ) from MODIS-Aqua in Chesapeake Bay derived using NIR and SWIR bands for atmospheric correction. Low signal-to-noise ratios (SNR) for the SWIR bands of MODIS-Aqua added noise errors to the derived radiances, which produced broad, flat frequency distributions of nLw(λ) relative to those produced using the NIR bands. The SWIR approach produced an increased number of negative nLw(λ) and decreased sample size relative to the NIR approach. Revised vicarious calibration and regional tuning of the scheme to switch between the NIR and SWIR approaches may improve retrievals in Chesapeake Bay, however, poor SNR values for the MODIS-Aqua SWIR bands remain the primary deficiency of the SWIR-based atmospheric correction approach.