Abstract

Spectral properties of sea foam greatly affect ocean color remote sensing and aerosol optical thickness retrieval from satellite observation. This paper presents a combined Mie theory and Monte Carlo method to investigate visible and near-infrared spectral reflectance and bidirectional reflectance distribution function (BRDF) of sea foam layers. A three-layer model of the sea foam is developed in which each layer is composed of large air bubbles coated with pure water. A pseudo-continuous model and Mie theory for coated spheres is used to determine the effective radiative properties of sea foam. The one-dimensional Cox–Munk surface roughness model is used to calculate the slope density functions of the wind-blown ocean surface. A Monte Carlo method is used to solve the radiative transfer equation. Effects of foam layer thickness, bubble size, wind speed, solar zenith angle, and wavelength on the spectral reflectance and BRDF are investigated. Comparisons between previous theoretical results and experimental data demonstrate the feasibility of our proposed method. Sea foam can significantly increase the spectral reflectance and BRDF of the sea surface. The absorption coefficient of seawater near the surface is not the only parameter that influences the spectral reflectance. Meanwhile, the effects of bubble size, foam layer thickness, and solar zenith angle also cannot be obviously neglected.

© 2015 Optical Society of America

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