The variation of the polarized downwelling radiance distribution with depth in the coastal and clear ocean

Purushottam Bhandari, Kenneth J. Voss, Luke Logan, Michael Twardowski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


The spectral polarized radiance distribution provides the most complete description of the light field that can be measured. However, this is a very difficult parameter to measure, particularly near the surface, because of its large dynamic range, changes in the skylight illumination, and waves at the air-sea interface. To measure the Stokes vector of the downwelling light field, which contains the polarization information, requires the combination of four images acquired simultaneously. To achieve this, we used the downwelling polarized radiance distribution camera system (DPOL) during the Radiance in a Dynamic Ocean (RaDyO) program Santa Barbara Channel and Hawaiian experiments. DPOL consists of four fisheye lenses and a spectral filter changer that allow us to capture the downwelling hemisphere of the polarized radiance distribution at seven wavelengths. Our measurements show that very near the surface, for clear sky conditions, the dominant source of polarization is the refracted sky light. As one progresses in the water column the polarization due to light scattering by the water increases and polarization due to light scattering in the water becomes dominant.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberC00H10
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Oceans
Issue number11
StatePublished - 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Forestry
  • Oceanography
  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Soil Science
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Palaeontology

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