Spectra of particulate backscattering in natural waters

Howard R. Gordon, Marlon R. Lewis, Scott D. Mclean, Michael S. Twardowski, Scott A. Freeman, Kenneth J. Voss, G. Chris Boynton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Hyperspectral profiles of downwelling irradiance and upwelling radiance in natural waters (oligotrophic and mesotrophic) are combined with inverse radiative transfer to obtain high resolution spectra of the absorption coefficient (a) and the backscattering coefficient (b) of the water and its constituents. The absorption coefficient at the mesotrophic station clearly shows spectral absorption features attributable to several phytoplankton pigments (Chlorophyll a, b, c, and Carotenoids). The backscattering shows only weak spectral features and can be well represented by a power-law variation with wavelength (λ): bb ∼λ -n, where n is a constant between 0.4 and 1.0. However, the weak spectral features in b b suggest that it is depressed in spectral regions of strong particle absorption. The applicability of the present inverse radiative transfer algorithm, which omits the influence of Raman scattering, is limited to λ < 490 nm in oligotrophic waters and λ < 575 nm in mesotrophic waters.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)16192-16208
Number of pages17
JournalOptics Express
Issue number18
StatePublished - Aug 31 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics


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