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FY-3A/MERSI, ocean color algorithm, products and demonstrative applications


A medium resolution spectral imager (MERSI) on-board the first spacecraft of the second generation of China’s polar-orbit meteorological satellites FY-3A, is a MODIS-like sensor with 20 bands covering visible to thermal infrared spectral region. FY-3A/MERSI is capable of making continuous global observations, and ocean color application is one of its main targets. The objective is to provide information about the ocean color products of FY-3A/MERSI, including sensor calibration, ocean color algorithms, ocean color products validation and applications. Although there is a visible on-board calibration device, it cannot realize the on-board absolute radiometric calibration in the reflective solar bands. A multisite vicarious calibration method is developed, and used for monitoring the in-flight response change and providing post-launch calibration coefficients updating. FY-3A/MERSI ocean color products consist of the water-leaving reflectance retrieved from an atmospheric correction algorithm, a chlorophyll a concentration (CHL1) and a pigment concentration (PIG1) from global empirical models, the chlorophyll a concentration (CHL2), a total suspended mater concentration (TSM) and the absorption coefficient of CDOM and NAP (YS443) from China’s regional empirical models. The atmospheric correction algorithm based on lookup tables and ocean color components concentration estimation models are described. By comparison with in situ data, the FY-3A/MERSI ocean color products have been validated and preliminary results are presented. Some successful ocean color applications such as algae bloom monitoring and coastal suspended sediment variation have demonstrated the usefulness of FY-3A/MERSI ocean color products.

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Corresponding author

Correspondence to Ling Sun.

Additional information

Foundation item: The National Basic Research Program(973 Program) of China under contract No. 2010CB950803; National Meteorological Special Project of China under contract No. GYHY200906036.

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Sun, L., Guo, M., Zhu, J. et al. FY-3A/MERSI, ocean color algorithm, products and demonstrative applications. Acta Oceanol. Sin. 32, 75–81 (2013).

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Key words

  • ocean color
  • multisite calibration
  • atmospheric correction
  • China’s regional model