We present a method to evaluate the combined accuracy of ocean color models and the parameterizations of inherent optical proprieties (IOPs), or model-parametrization setup. The method estimates the ensemble (collective) uncertainty of derived IOPs relative to the radiometric error and is directly applicable to ocean color products without the need for inversion. Validation shows a very good fit between derived and known values for synthetic data, with R2 > 0.95 and mean absolute difference (MADi) <0.25 m−1. Due to the influence of observation errors, these values deteriorate to 0.45 < R2 < 0.5 and 0.65 < MADi < 0.9 for in-situ and ocean color matchup data. The method is also used to estimate the maximum accuracy that could be achieved by a specific model-parametrization setup, which represents the optimum accuracy that should be targeted when deriving IOPs. Application to time series of ocean color global products collected between 1997–2007 shows few areas with increasing annual trends of ensemble uncertainty, up to 8 sr m−1decade−1. This value is translated to an error of 0.04 m−1decade−1 in the sum of derived absorption and backscattering coefficients at the blue wavelength 440 nm. As such, the developed method can be used as a tool for assessing the reliability of model-parametrization setups for specific biophysical conditions and for identifying hot-spots for which the model-parametrization setup should be reconsidered.