- The particulate optical backscattering coefficient (bbₚ) is a
fundamental optical property that allows monitoring of marine suspended
particles both in situ and from space. Backscattering measurements in the
open ocean are still scarce, however, especially in oligotrophic regions.
Consequently, uncertainties remain in bbₚ parameterizations as well as
in satellite estimates of bbₚ. In an effort to reduce these uncertainties,
we present and analyze a dataset collected in surface waters during the
19th Atlantic Meridional Transect. Results show that the relationship
between particulate beam-attenuation coefficient (cₚ) and chlorophyll-a
concentration was consistent with published bio-optical models. In contrast,
the particulate backscattering per unit of chlorophyll-a and per unit of
cₚ were higher than in previous studies employing the same sampling
methodology. These anomalies could be due to a bias smaller than the
current uncertainties in bbₚ. If that was the case, then the AMT19 dataset
would confirm that bbₚ:cₚ is remarkably constant over the surface open
ocean. A second-order decoupling between bbₚ and cₚ was, however,
evident in the spectral slopes of these coefficients, as well as during diel
cycles. Overall, these results emphasize the current difficulties in obtaining
accurate bbₚ measurements in the oligotrophic ocean and suggest that, to
first order, bbₚ and cₚ are coupled in the surface open ocean, but they are
also affected by other geographical and temporal variations.
- Dall'olmo, G., Boss, E., Behrenfeld, M. J., & Westberry, T. K. (2012). Particulate optical scattering coefficients along an atlantic meridional transect. Optics Express, 20(19), 21532-21551.
- The published article can be found at The Optical Society of America.
|Funding Statement (additional comments about funding)
- G.D.O. was funded by NASA grant NNX09AK30G and by the UK National Centre for EarthObservations. This study was supported by the UK Natural Environment Research CouncilNational Capability funding to Plymouth Marine Laboratory and the National OceanographyCentre, Southampton.
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