© 2019 Optical Society of America. We evaluated the performance of a recently developed absorption partitioning model [J. Geophys. Res. Oceans 120, 2601 (2015)] that derives the spectral absorption coefficients of non-algal particles, aN AP λ, and colored dissolved organic matter, ag λ, from the total absorption coefficient of seawater. The model’s performance was found unsatisfactory when the model was tested with a large dataset of absorption measurements from diverse open-ocean and coastal aquatic environments. To address these limitations, we developed a new model based on a different approach for estimating aN AP λ and ag λ from the sum of these two coefficients, ad g λ, within the visible spectral region. The very good overall performance of the model is demonstrated, with no tendency for bias and relatively small absolute differences (the median ≤20%) between the model-derived and measured values of aNAPλ and agλ over a wide range of aquatic environments.