The ground-based measurement of sea salt (SS) aerosol over the ocean requires the massive utilization of satellite-derived aerosol products. In this study, n-order spectral derivatives of aerosol optical depth (AOD) based on wavelength were examined to characterize SS and other aerosol types in terms of their spectral dependence related to their optical properties such as particle size distributions and complex refractive indices. Based on theoretical simulations from the second simulation of a satellite signal in the solar spectrum (6S) model, AOD spectral derivatives of SS were characterized along with other major types including mineral dust (DS), biomass burning (BB), and anthropogenic pollutants (APs). The approach (normalized derivative aerosol index, NDAI) of partitioning aerosol types with intrinsic values of particle size distribution and complex refractive index from normalized first-and second-order derivatives was applied to the datasets from a moderate resolution imaging spectroradiometer (MODIS) as well as by the ground-based aerosol robotic network (AERONET). The results after implementation from multiple sources of data indicated that the proposed approach could be highly effective for identifying and segregating abundant SS from DS, BB, and AP, across an ocean. Consequently, each aerosol’s shortwave radiative forcing and its efficiency could be further estimated in order to predict its impact on the climate.