Developments in ocean infrared emissivity/reflection modeling

Nicholas R. Nalli, Peter J. Minnett, Paul Van Delst, Christopher D. Barnet, Mitchell D. Goldberg

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Much progress has been made toward modeling the spectral infrared (IR) emissivity of wind-roughened water surfaces. Existing emissivity models explicitly calculate the ensemble mean emissivity of the wavy surface for a given observer zenith angle and local wind speed. However, field observations of emissivity spectra obtained by the Marine Atmospheric Emitted Radiance Interferometer (M-AERI) suggest that emissivity models are deficient at larger view angles and wind speeds. In this preliminary work, we attempt to identify and explain the sources of error in these models using M-AERI data acquired at sea (e.g., during AEROSE 2004). Our results demonstrate that proper accounting for non-unity surface emissivity must ultimately include appropriate specification of the reflected IR radiation field, especially in window channels. Atmospheric IR surface reflectance becomes important for high accuracy applications (e.g., sea surface skin temperature), that rely on window channel observations at zenith angles ≳ 45°. Lookup tables of ensemble mean effective incidence angle, rather than mean emissivity, are generated using different published mean square slope PDF models. These results roughly agree with recent findings. Lookup tables of ensemble mean local zenith incidence angle are also generated. This new approach to emissivity/reflection modeling will be refined and validated against M-AERI field data from several previous oceanographic cruises, and will be the subject of a forthcoming paper.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number59770G
JournalProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
StatePublished - Dec 1 2005
EventRemote Sensing of the Ocean, Sea Ice, and Large Water Regions 2005 - Bruges, Belgium
Duration: Sep 19 2005Sep 20 2005


  • Emissivity
  • Infrared
  • M-AERI
  • Ocean
  • Reflectance
  • Spectra
  • Surface

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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