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Improving Ocean-Monitoring Satellite and Airborne Sensor Validation

Creative Commons 'BY' version 4.0 license

Ocean-monitoring satellite and airborne sensors are important for characterizing aquatic ecosystems spatially. These above-water sensors measure light radiating from the sea surface, from which they estimate biogeochemical properties with the help of optical algorithms. To ensure their reliability, radiometric and biogeochemical data products must be validated in-situ across the ecosystems that they characterize. This in-situ validation is typically carried out using ground truth radiometric measurements collected using in-water optical profilers. Our ability to validate above-water sensors using profilers alone, however, is limited, especially in coastal and inland ecosystems. Here we seek to improve the validation of these sensors and their data products in coastal and inland ecosystems. I demonstrate that modeling is an important tool for expanding our capability to reliably validate satellite and airborne sensors, as well as to identify for which ecosystems specific optical algorithms are likely to work. With the advent of next-generation satellites and unmanned aerial vehicles with better spatial and spectral resolution, my research contributes to an improved understanding of coastal and inland ecosystems, as well as their ever-changing dynamics.

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