For the retrieval of chlorophyll concentrations or the total absorption coe
fficients of oceanic waters based on water color, there are algorithms that
use either band ratios or spectral curvatures of remote-sensing reflectanc
e or water leaving radiance. We show that band-ratio algorithms have the po
tential to be applied to a wider dynamic range of oceanic waters, whereas s
pectral-curvature algorithms show stable performance as long as the data se
t falls within the appropriate range. (C) 2000 Optical Society of America O
CIS codes: 280.0280, 010.4450.