Despite the importance of diffuse attenuation coefficient of downwelling irradiance (Kd) to physical, chemical and biological processes in the euphotic zone, accurate determination of this apparent optical property from satellite ocean color data for coastal oceanic waters is still challenging with most of the existing algorithms. This paper presents a simple and robust algorithm developed using the relationship (R2 = 0.995) of the ratio of remote sensing reflectances at 490 and 670 nm to the Kd at a wavelength of 490 nm derived from a large number of radiometric profiles from various regional waters. When tested with three independent data sets from relatively clear and turbid waters, accuracy of Kd (490) prediction by the present algorithm is statistically good compared to that of the existing algorithms. The effectiveness of the present algorithm is also tested on MODIS-Aqua images from complex waters around India. It is found that the present algorithm makes better retrievals of Kd (490) capturing the spatial characteristics of bloom and turbid water features. These results suggest that the present algorithm has the potential to provide more accurate Kd (490) from satellite ocean color data for coastal oceanic waters. © 2014 IEEE.