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Laser remote sensing of chromophoric dissolved organic matter and algal pigments off the Svalbard Islands: an opportunity for MERIS cal/val in the Arctic Ocean

Luca Fiorani(1), Francesco Colao(1), Annalisa Di Cicco(2), Antonio Palucci(1) and Claudio Poggi(1)

(1) ENEA, Via Enrico Fermi 45, 00044 Frascati, Italy
(2) ENEA guest, Via Enrico Fermi 45, 00044 Frascati, Italy


Oceanic phytoplankton plays a major role in climate regulation. This explains the international efforts in space monitoring of chlorophyll-a (chl-a) concentration, the main indicator of algal biomass. In this study, the measurements of a laser remote sensor, the ENEA (Italian National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and the Environment) Lidar Fluorosensor (ELF), are presented. In July 2007, ELF participated to the AREX oceanographic campaign aboard the Polish research vessel Oceania. During the cruise, ELF gathered a large amount of data on chromophoric dissolved organic matter (CDOM) and algal pigments (phycoerythrin, phycocyanin and chl-a) off the Svalbard Islands. ELF is based on laser induced fluorescence (LIF): CDOM, phycoerythrin, phycocyanin and chl-a are detected measuring their emission at 450, 580, 650 and 680 nm, respectively, after excitation by a frequency-tripled Nd:YAG laser at 355 nm. Thanks to narrowband filtering and electronic gating, LIF signals do not need corrections for radiometric and spectral characteristics of solar irradiance and surface reflectance. Furthermore, due to the short distance from the target, atmospheric effects are negligible. For these reasons, ELF data can be regarded as sea truth and can be used for MERIS cal/val, eventually leading to a regional calibrated bio-optical algorithm for more accurate estimates of phytoplankton in the Arctic Ocean.


Keywords: ESA European Space Agency - Agence spatiale europeenne, observation de la terre, earth observation, satellite remote sensing, teledetection, geophysique, altimetrie, radar, chimique atmospherique, geophysics, altimetry, radar, atmospheric chemistry