Beam attenuation coefficient, c, provides an important optical index of plankton standing stocks, such as phytoplankton biomass and total particulate carbon concentration. Unfortunately, c has proven difficult to quantify through remote sensing. Here, we introduce an innovative approach for estimating c using lidar depolarization measurements and diffuse attenuation coefficients from ocean color products or lidar measurements of Brillouin scattering. The new approach is based on a theoretical formula established from Monte Carlo simulations that links the depolarization ratio of sea water to the ratio of diffuse attenuation Kd and beam attenuation C (i.e., a multiple scattering factor). On July 17, 2014, the CALIPSO satellite was tilted 30deg off-nadir for one nighttime orbit in order to minimize ocean surface backscatter and demonstrate the lidar ocean subsurface measurement concept from space. Depolarization ratios of ocean subsurface backscatter are measured accurately. Beam attenuation coefficients computed from the depolarization ratio measurements compare well with empirical estimates from ocean color measurements. We further verify the beam attenuation coefficient retrievals using aircraft-based high spectral resolution lidar (HSRL) data that are collocated with in-water optical measurements.
International Laser Radar Conference; Jul 05, 2015 - Jul 10, 2015; New York, NY; United States