MEASUREMENTS AND CHARACTERIZATION OF OPTICAL PROPERTIES IN THE CHESAPEAKE BAY'S ESTUARINE WATERS USING IN-SITU MEASUREMENTS, MODIS SATELLITE OBSERVATIONS, AND RADIATIVE TRANSFER MODELING
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The core subject of this thesis is the development of coordinated atmospheric, in-water, and laboratory measurements leading to characterization of in-water optical properties in the estuarine environment of northern Chesapeake Bay, where natural and human-induced processes strongly interact. One of the main objectives is obtaining a sufficiently complete suite of measurements, combined with detailed radiative transfer calculations, so as to produce a closure experiment for the underwater inherent and apparent optical properties. The in-situ results are applied to the interpretation of satellite (MODIS) water leaving radiance data and their validation. The applicability of bio-optical models and parameterizations currently used in satellite algorithms are examined for the case of the optically complex Chesapeake Bay waters. Relationships between remotely sensed water leaving radiances and properties of optically active components in these waters are investigated. The resulting techniques and analysis should be broadly applicable to other coastal areas of the world. The results from this thesis, and other future work, will contribute to our ability to obtain more accurate information from remotely measured optical characteristics of estuarine and coastal regions. The combined use of in-situ measurements and detailed radiative transfer modeling enables the improvement of both the theoretical models and satellite remote sensing algorithms needed to a better understanding of biotic responses to environmental forcing.