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Coastal zone color scanner 'system calibration': A retrospective examinationDuring its lifetime the Coastal Zone Color Scanner (CZCS) produced approximately 66,000 images. These have been placed in an archive of 'raw' radiance (sensor counts) in a subsampled format that is easily accessible. They have also been processed to form global fields, at reduced resolution, of normalized water-leaving radiance, phytoplankton pigments, and diffuse attenuation coefficient. Using this archive, we have tried to characterize some aspects of the 'system calibration' for the 8-year lifetime of CZCS. Specifically, we have assumed that the sensitivity of the red band decayed in a simple manner similar to the well-known long-term degradation of the shorter-wavelength bands, and we examined the sensitivity of the green and yellow bands by computing the globally averaged water-leaving radiance, over 10-day periods, for all of the imagery. The results provided evidence that in addition to the long-term degradation, short-term (2 weeks to 1 month) variations in the radiometric sensitivity of these bands started in early fall 1981 and continued for the rest of the mission. In contrast, the data suggested the absence of such variations prior to August 1981. It is reasonable to believe that the sensitivity of the blue (and probably the red) band underwent such variations as well; however our methodology cannot be used to study the other bands. Thus, after these fluctuations began, the actual values of CZCS - estimated pigment concentrations at a given location should be viewed with skepticism; however, the global patterns of derived pigment concentrations should be valid. Had an extensive set of surface measurements of water-leaving radiance, e.r., from moored buoyes or drifters, had been available during the CZCS mission, these fluctuations could have been removed from the data set, and this would have greatly increased its value. The lessons learned from CZCS that is, the requirement of good radiometric calibration and stability and the necessity of 'sea truth' stations to monitor the performance of the system (sensor plus algorithms), are being applied to the sea-viewing wide-field-of-view senso (Sea WiFS) scheduled for launch in August 1993.
Document ID
Document Type
Reprint (Version printed in journal)
External Source(s)
Evans, Robert H. (Univ. of Miami, Miami, FL United States)
Gordon, Howard R. (Univ. of Miami, Miami, FL United States)
Date Acquired
August 16, 2013
Publication Date
April 15, 1994
Publication Information
Publication: Journal of Geophysical Research
Volume: 99
Issue: C4
ISSN: 0148-0227
Subject Category
Funding Number(s)
Distribution Limits