Since scattering by molecules, particles, aerosols, hydrosols and reflection at the sea surface introduce and modify the
polarization state of light, the polarized underwater light field contains embedded information about the intrinsic nature
of various water constituents (biogenic, nonalgal and inorganic particles, dissolved matter), and can be used in retrieval
algorithms for the separation of organic and inorganic particulates, in improving underwater visibility and in other active
techniques and applications. To study underwater polarization characteristics a new instrument has been developed by
the Optical Remote Sensing Laboratory at CCNY. The instrument consists of three Satlantic Hyperspectral radiance
sensors mounted on a scanning system controlled by an underwater electric stepper motor. The motor rotates the sensors
in a vertical plane in a specific angular range. This can be adjusted according to the solar altitude angle in order to cover
the full 0-180° scattering angle range. Linear polarizers are attached in front of the sensors; the polarizers are oriented at
0° (vertical), 90 °(horizontal) and 45°. By rotating the sensors relative to the nadir direction, the instrument scans the
angular features of the underwater polarized light field in a vertical plane defined by its azimuth angle relative to the sun.
Angular variations of the degree of polarization are found to be consistent with theory. Maximum values of the degree of
polarization do not exceed 0.5 while the position of the maximum is shifted from 90° towards higher scattering angles.
The results presented here will need to be corroborated with additional measurements in varying water conditions.