14 Jan 2021

14 Jan 2021

Review status: a revised version of this preprint is currently under review for the journal BG.

Radiative transfer modeling with BGC-Argo float data in the Mediterranean Sea

Elena Terzić1, Arnau Miró1,2, Paolo Lazzari1, Emanuele Organelli3, and Fabrizio D'Ortenzio4 Elena Terzić et al.
  • 1National Institute of Oceanography and Applied Geophysics - OGS Trieste, Italy
  • 2Barcelona Supercomputing Center (BSC), Spain
  • 3National Research Council (CNR), Institute of Marine Sciences (ISMAR), Via Fosso del Cavaliere 100, 00133 Rome, Italy
  • 4Sorbonne Université, CNRS, Laboratoire d’Océanographie de Villefranche, Villefranche-sur-Mer, France

Abstract. A radiative transfer model was parameterized and validated using Biogeochemical Argo float data acquired between 2012 and 2017 across the Mediterranean Sea. Fluorescence-derived chlorophyll a concentration, particle backscattering at 700 nm and fluorescence of colored dissolved organic matter were used to parametrize the light absorption and scattering coefficients of the optically significant water constituents (pure water, non-algal particles, colored dissolved organic matter and phytoplankton). The model was validated with in-situ downwelling irradiance profiles and irradiance-derived apparent optical properties from satellite data, such as the diffuse attenuation coefficients and remote sensing reflectance. To the authors' knowledge, this is the first time that a three-platform comparison of such kind is performed between model, floats and satellites. Results showed that by using regional parameterizations that are not only related to chlorophyll concentration and vertical distribution, the model was able to capture a more accurate spectral response in the examined wavelength range compared to chlorophyll-related (or Case 1) optical models. When using alternative models that incorporated also measurements of colored dissolved organic matter fluorescence or particulate optical backscattering, the model skill increased at all examined wavelengths. A series of upgrades, such as the inclusion of temperature and salinity data for the modification of the pure water absorption spectra, a refined pure water absorption model, as well as the correction of regional algorithms that had overestimated the pure water contribution in the blue, all contributed to improve the model performance. Finally, using a multi-spectral optical configuration enabled to estimate also the relative contribution of separate water constituents in the examined spectral range. Simulations including non-algal particles and colored dissolved organic matter performed up to 60 % and 76 % better than when considering the optical properties of pure seawater alone. Moreover, a simulation including phytoplankton absorption resulted in an error reduction of up to 43 %, especially at 412 nm and with a more uniform response at the wavelengths considered. Such studies can therefore also tackle the bio-optically anomalous nature of the Mediterranean Sea, and show that non-chlorophyll-related constituents (i.e. non-algal particles and colored dissolved organic matter) can substantially modulate the underwater light field in the blue.

Elena Terzić et al.

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on bg-2020-473', Emmanuel Boss, 15 Feb 2021
  • RC2: 'Comment on bg-2020-473', Anonymous Referee #2, 15 Feb 2021
  • RC3: 'Comment on bg-2020-473', Zach Erickson, 16 Feb 2021

Elena Terzić et al.

Elena Terzić et al.


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Short summary
This study integrates numerical simulations (using a multi-spectral optical model) with in-situ measurements of floats and remotely sensed observations from satellites. It aims at improving our current understanding of the impact that different constituents (such as pure water, colored dissolved organic matter, detritus and phytoplankton) have on the in-water light propagation.