Abstract

The follow-on Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) housed in the NOAA-20 satellite was launched on 18 November 2017. It has 22 spectral bands, among which 14 are reflective solar bands (RSBs) covering the wavelength range from 411 to 2258 nm. Prelaunch polarization sensitivity measurements have revealed that NOAA-20 VIIRS RSBs are much more sensitive to polarization of the incident light than its predecessor, the VIIRS on the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership. For the short wavelength bands, i.e., M1–M4, the polarization sensitivities are out of specifications, especially for band M1, for which the polarization factors can be as large as 6%. The polarization effect induces striping in imagery along the track and radiometric bias both along the scan and along the track, resulting in much larger uncertainties in the environmental data records (EDR). In this paper, the polarization effect correction algorithms are described and applied to the NOAA-20 VIIRS RSBs for ocean scenes where the top-of-atmosphere radiance can be separated into the ocean normalized water-leaving radiance, the basis of the ocean color EDR, and the sunlight reflected by the atmosphere, which can be mostly described by the Rayleigh scattering radiance. The errors of the sensor data records (SDR or Level-1B radiance) due to the polarization effect can be as large as 1% for bands M1 and M2, and those in the ocean normalized water-leaving radiances are about 13% and 10% for wavelengths at 411 nm (band M1) and 445 nm (band M2), respectively. The polarization effect also induces strong striping in both NOAA-20 VIIRS RSB SDR and normalized water-leaving radiances. It is demonstrated that with the polarization correction applied, the aforementioned errors and artifacts are successfully removed.

© 2019 Optical Society of America

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