GMIS - SeaWiFS Monthly mean sea surface diffuse attenuation coefficient at 490nm (4km) in m^-1

Collection: GMIS : Global Marine Information System 


Water Transparency (Diffuse attenuation coefficient at 490nm, Kd490 in m^-1 at 4km resolution): The diffuse attenuation coefficient Kd490 measures the light penetration in the water column at the blue-green wavelengths (ca. 490 nm). It represents a good indicator of water transparency resulting from the combined action of absorption and backscattering by the water constituents, and the structure of the surrounding light field.


jrc-emis (at)


  • Frederic Melin

How to cite

Melin, Frederic (2013): GMIS - SeaWiFS Monthly mean sea surface diffuse attenuation coefficient at 490nm (4km) in m^-1. European Commission, Joint Research Centre (JRC) [Dataset] PID:


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Data access

GMIS - Download access (GMIS_S_K490)
  • Direct NetCDF download

Spatial coverage

Type Value
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POLYGON ((-180 90, 180 90, 180 -90, -180 -90, -180 90))

Temporal coverage

From date To date
1997-09-01 2010-12-31

Lineage information

General information : Monthly mean sea surface diffuse attenuation coefficient at 490nm in m^-1 (log10 scalling) derived from the SeaWiFS sensor. Processing information: Kd(490) data is processed using SeaDAS 6.4 software and the standard algorithm for Kd(490) (Werdell 2005). Temporal characteristics: This dataset consists of standard monthly mean sea surface Kd(490) maps at 9km resolution (L3 product). Description of observation methods/instruments: The remote sensing of 'Ocean Colour' represents a measure of the spectral variations in the light leaving the water surface, subsequently interpreted in terms of concentrations of optically-significant constituents in the water. The electromagnetic signal collected by the sensor on-board the satellite is largely determined by photons that have never reached the water surface, but have been backscattered within the atmosphere through multiple interactions between gas molecules and aerosols. After removing the atmospheric contribution, the water leaving radiance recorded at a given time by the satellite reflects the optical properties of the water which, in turn, mirrors a specific structure and biogeochemical composition of the marine waters. The satellite-derived reflectance at the air-sea interface is related to apparent optical properties of the water constituents including Kd(490). Quality/accuracy/calibration information: The algorithm is an empirical band-ratio formula, with retrieval standard error and r^2 (for log-transformed data) of 0.28 and 0.89, respectively, as calculated over the development in situ data set (Werdell 2005). References: Werdell, P.J. (2005). Ocean color K490 algorithm evaluation. Other contextual information: The product is stored in NetCDF data and available for download.

Additional information

Published by
European Commission, Joint Research Centre
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