UC Santa Cruz
The Influence of Signal to Noise Ratio of Legacy Airborne and Satellite Sensors for Simulating Next-Generation Coastal and Inland Water Products
- Author(s): Kudela, Raphael M
- Hooker, Stanford B
- Houskeeper, Henry F
- McPherson, Meredith
- et al.
Published Web Locationhttps://www.mdpi.com/2072-4292/11/18/2071
Presently, operational ocean color satellite sensors are designed with a legacy perspective for sampling the open ocean primarily in the visible domain, while high spatial resolution sensors such as Sentinel-2, Sentinel-3, and Landsat8 are increasingly used for observations of coastal and inland water quality. Next-generation satellites such as the NASA Plankton, Aerosol, Cloud and ocean Ecosystem (PACE) and Surface Biology and Geology (SBG) sensors are anticipated to increase spatial and/or spectral resolution. An important consideration is determining the minimum signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) needed to retrieve typical biogeochemical products, such as biomass, in aquatic systems, and whether legacy sensors can be used for algorithm development. Here, we evaluate SNR and remote-sensing reflectance (Rrs) uncertainty for representative bright and dim targets in coastal California, USA. The majority of existing sensors fail to meet proposed criteria. Despite these limitations, uncertainties in retrieved biomass as chlorophyll or normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) remain well below a proposed threshold of 17.5%, suggesting that existing sensors can be used in coastal systems. Existing commercially available in-water and airborne instrument suites can exceed all proposed thresholds for SNR and Rrs uncertainty, providing a path forward for collection of calibration and validation data for future satellite missions.