An Introduction to Optical Remote Sensing of the Asian Seas: Chinese Dedicated Satellites and Data Processing Techniques

  • Yan BaiEmail author
  • Lianghong Jiang
  • Xianqiang He
  • Vittorio Barale


The application of optical remote sensing in the Asian Seas is introduced, by reviewing the achievements of ocean colour dedicated missions and data processing techniques in China. Two satellites (HY-1A and HY-1B) have already been launched as part of the Chinese long-term (2015–2025) ocean colour observation program, which foresees the launch of more than 15 orbital platforms. Data processing techniques, including the development of a vector radiative transfer model, as well as calibration, polarization correction, and atmospheric correction algorithms, have all been developed specifically for these missions, with particular attention to the peculiar environmental conditions of the greater China Sea. Progress on the atmospheric correction effectiveness in highly turbid waters in the greater China Sea coastal regions is also examined.


Ocean colour Remote sensing Asian Seas Data processing technique Atmospheric correction 



We thank Dr. Zoujun You for editing the manuscript. This work was supported by the National Basic Research Programme (“973” Programme) of China (grant #2015CB954002), the National High Technology and Development Program of China (grant 2014AA123301), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) (grants #41676170, #41676172, #41476155, and #41621064), and the “Global Change and Air-Sea Interaction” project of China (grant # GASI-03-03-01-01).


  1. Acker JG (2015) The color of the atmosphere with the ocean below: a history of NASA’s ocean color missions. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 362ppGoogle Scholar
  2. Austin RW (1993) Optical remote sensing of the oceans: BC (before CZCS) and AC (after CZCS). In: Barale V, Schlittenhardt PM (eds) Ocean colour: theory and applications in a decade of CZCS experience. Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht, pp 1–15Google Scholar
  3. Gordon HR (2010) Some reflections on thirtyfive years of ocean color remote sensing. In: Barale V, Gower JFR, Alberotanzam L (eds) Oceanography from space: revisited. Springer, Dordrecht, pp 289–306CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Gordon HR, Wang M (1994) Retrieval of water-leaving radiance and aerosol optical thickness over the oceans with SeaWiFS: a preliminary algorithm. Appl Opt 33(3):443–452CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. He XQ, Pan DL, Bai Y, Zhu QK, Gong F (2007) Vector radiative transfer numerical model of coupled ocean-atmosphere system using matrix-operator method. Sci China Ser D Earth Sci 50(3):442–452CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. He XQ, Bai Y, Pan DL, Zhu QK (2008a) The atmospheric correction HY-1B/COCTS. Proc SPIE 7147:714717. Scholar
  7. He XQ, Bai Y, Pan DL, Zhu QK, Gong F (2008b) Primary analysis of the ocean color remote sensing data of the HY-1B/COCTS. Proc SPIE 7150:715003CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. He XQ, Bai Y, Zhu QK, Gong F (2010) A vector radiative transfer model of coupled ocean-atmosphere system using matrix-operator method for rough sea-surface. J Quant Spectrosc Radiat Transfer 111:1426–1448CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. He XQ, Bai Y, Pan DL, Tang JW, Wang DF (2012) Atmospheric correction of satellite ocean color imagery using the ultraviolet wavelength for highly turbid waters. Opt Express 20(18):20754–20770CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. He XQ, Bai Y, Pan DL, Huang NL, Dong X, Chen JS, Chen CTA, Cui QF (2013) Using geostationary satellite ocean color data to map the diurnal dynamics of suspended particulate matter in coastal waters. Remote Sens Environ 133:225–239CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. He XQ, Pan DL, Bai Y, Mao ZH, Wang TY, Hao ZZ (2016) A practical method for on-orbit estimation of polarization response of satellite ocean color sensor. IEEE Trans Geosci Remote Sens 54(4):1967–1976CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Hojerslev NK (1994) A history of early optical oceanographic instrument design in Scandinavia. In: Spinrad RW, Carder KL, Perry MJ (eds) Ocean Optics. Oxford University Press, New York, pp 118–147Google Scholar
  13. Jerlov NG (1968) Optical oceanography. Elsevier oceanography series, vol 5. Elsevier, Amsterdam, 194ppCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Jerlov NG (1976) Marine optics. Elsevier oceanography series, vol 14. Elsevier, Amsterdam, 230ppGoogle Scholar
  15. Maffione RA (2001) Evolution and revolution in measuring ocean optical properties. Oceanogr Ocean Opt 14(3):9–14 (Special Issue)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Mao ZH, Pan DL, Hao ZZ, Chen JY, Tao BY, Zhu QK (2014) A potentially universal algorithm for estimating aerosol scattering reflectance from satellite remote sensing data. Remote Sens Environ 142:131–140CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Morel A, Prieur L (1977) Analysis of ocean color. Limnol Oceanogr 22:709–722CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Pan DL, He XQ, Zhu QK (2004) In-orbit cross-calibration of HY-1A satellite sensor COCTS. Chin Sci Bull 9(3):521–2526Google Scholar
  19. Preisendorfer RW (1986) Secchi disk science: visual optics of natural waters. Limnol Oceanogr 31:909–926CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Wang M, Shi W (2005) Estimation of ocean contribution at the MODIS near-infrared wavelengths along the east coast of the US: two case studies. Geophys Res Lett 32(13):L13606. Scholar
  21. Wang M, Tang J, Shi W (2007) MODIS-derived ocean color products along the China east coastal region. Geophys Res Lett 34(6):L06611. Scholar
  22. Wang M, Shi W, Jiang LD (2012) Atmospheric correction using near-infrared bands for satellite ocean color data processing in the turbid western Pacific region. Opt Express 20(2):741–753CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Wernand MR (2010) On the history of the Secchi disc. J Eur Opt Soc 5. (Rapid Publications)

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yan Bai
    • 1
    Email author
  • Lianghong Jiang
    • 1
  • Xianqiang He
    • 1
  • Vittorio Barale
    • 2
  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Satellite Ocean Environment DynamicsSecond Institute of Oceanography, State Oceanic AdministrationHangzhouChina
  2. 2.European Commission, Joint Research CentreIspraItaly

Personalised recommendations