Remote-sensing reflectance is easier to interpret for the open ocean than for coastal regions because the optical signals are highly coupled to the phytoplankton (e.g., chlorophyll) concentrations. For estuarine or coastal waters, variable terrigenous colored dissolved organic matter (CDOM), suspended sediments, and bottom reflectance, all factors that do not covary with the pigment concentration, confound data interpretation. In this research, remote-sensing reflectance models are suggested for coastal waters, to which contributions that are due to bottom reflectance, CDOM fluorescence, and water Raman scattering are included. Through the use of two parameters to model the combination of the backscattering coefficient and the Q factor, excellent agreement was achieved between the measured and modeled remote-sensing reflectance for waters from the West Florida Shelf to the Mississippi River plume. These waters cover a range of chlorophyll of 0.2-40 mg/m(3) and gelbstoff absorption at 440 nm from 0.02-0.4 m(-1). Data with a spectral resolution of 10 nm or better, which is consistent with that provided by the airborne visible and infrared imaging spectrometer (AVIRIS) and spacecraft spectrometers, were used in the model evaluation.
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