OSA's Digital Library

Applied Optics

Applied Optics


  • Vol. 37, Iss. 27 — Sep. 20, 1998
  • pp: 6525–6536

Influence of bubbles on scattering of light in the ocean

Xiaodong Zhang, Marlon Lewis, and Bruce Johnson  »View Author Affiliations

Applied Optics, Vol. 37, Issue 27, pp. 6525-6536 (1998)

View Full Text Article

Enhanced HTML    Acrobat PDF (275 KB)

Browse Journals / Lookup Meetings

Browse by Journal and Year


Lookup Conference Papers

Close Browse Journals / Lookup Meetings

Article Tools



The scattering and backscattering properties of bubble populations in the upper ocean are estimated with Mie theory and a generalized bubble size spectrum based on in situ observations. Optical properties of both clean bubbles and bubbles coated with an organic film are analyzed; the results are compared with the corresponding optical properties of micro-organisms of similar size. Given a bubble number density (from ∼105 to ∼107 m-3) frequently found at sea, the bubble populations significantly influence the scattering process in the ocean, especially in oligotrophic waters. Bubbles appear to make a large contribution to the missing terms in constructing the observed total backscattering coefficient of the ocean. This contribution to backscattering is strongly enhanced if the bubbles are coated with organic film. The injection of bubbles will shift ocean color toward the green, resembling phytoplankton blooms, and hence introducing error in ocean color remote sensing if its effect is not corrected.

© 1998 Optical Society of America

OCIS Codes
(010.4450) Atmospheric and oceanic optics : Oceanic optics
(290.0290) Scattering : Scattering
(290.1350) Scattering : Backscattering

Original Manuscript: February 2, 1998
Revised Manuscript: June 8, 1998
Published: September 20, 1998

Xiaodong Zhang, Marlon Lewis, and Bruce Johnson, "Influence of bubbles on scattering of light in the ocean," Appl. Opt. 37, 6525-6536 (1998)

Sort:  Author  |  Year  |  Journal  |  Reset  


  1. R. C. Dugdale, A. Morel, A. Bricaud, F. P. Wilkerson, “Modeling new production in upwelling centers: a case study of modeling new production from remotely sensed temperature and color,” J. Geophys. Res. 94, 18,119–18,132 (1989). [CrossRef]
  2. T. Platt, C. Caverhill, S. Sathyendranath, “Basin-scale estimates of oceanic primary production by remote sensing: the North Atlantic.” J. Geophys. Res. 96, 15,147–15,160 (1991). [CrossRef]
  3. M. R. Lewis, “Satellite ocean color observations of global biogeochemical cycles,” in Primary Productivity and Biogeochemical Cycles in the Sea, P. G. Falkowski, A. Woodhead, eds. (Plenum, New York, 1992), pp. 139–154.
  4. H. R. Gordon, O. B. Brown, M. M. Jacobs, “Computed relationships between the inherent and apparent optical properties of a flat homogeneous ocean,” Appl. Opt. 14, 417–427 (1975). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  5. A. Morel, L. Prieur, “Analysis of variations in ocean color,” Limnol. Oceanogr. 22, 709–722 (1977). [CrossRef]
  6. H. R. Gordon, A. Morel, Remote Assessment of Ocean Color for Interpretation of Satellite Visible Imagery, a Review (Springer-Verlag, New York, 1983). [CrossRef]
  7. A. Morel, B. Gentili, “Diffuse reflectance of oceanic waters: its dependence on Sun angle as influenced by the molecular scattering contribution,” Appl. Opt. 30, 4427–4438 (1991). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  8. A. Morel, B. Gentili, “Diffuse reflectance of oceanic waters: III. Implication of bidirectionality for the remote-sensing problem,” Appl. Opt. 35, 4850–4862 (1996). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  9. H. R. Gordon, O. B. Brown, R. H. Evans, J. W. Brown, R. C. Smith, K. S. Baker, D. K. Clark, “A semi-analytical radiance model of ocean color,” J. Geophys. Res. 93D, 10,909–10,924 (1988).
  10. A. Morel, “Optical modeling of upper ocean in relation to its biogenous matter content (case I waters),” J. Geophys. Res. 48, 145–175 (1988).
  11. A. Bricaud, M. Babin, A. Morel, H. Claustre, “Variability in the chlorophyll-specific absorption coefficients of natural phytoplankton: analysis and parameterization,” J. Geophys. Res. 100, 13,321–13,332 (1995). [CrossRef]
  12. J. S. Cleveland, “Regional models for phytoplankton absorption as a function of chlorophyll a concentration,” J. Geophys. Res. 100, 13,333–13,344 (1995). [CrossRef]
  13. A. Morel, A. Bricaud, “Theoretical results concerning the optics of phytoplankton, with special reference to remote sensing applications,” in Oceanography from Space, J. F. R. Gower, ed. (Plenum, New York, 1981), pp. 313–327. [CrossRef]
  14. Y. Ahn, A. Bricaud, A. Morel, “Light backscattering efficiency and related properties of some phytoplankters,” Deep-Sea Res. 39, 1835–1855 (1992). [CrossRef]
  15. A. Morel, Y. Ahn, “Optics of heterotrophic nanoflagellates and ciliates: a tentative assessment of their scattering role in oceanic waters compared to those of bacterial and algal cells,” J. Mar. Res. 49, 177–202 (1991). [CrossRef]
  16. D. Stramski, D. A. Kiefer, “Light scattering by microorganisms in the open ocean,” Prog. Oceanogr. 28, 343–383 (1991). [CrossRef]
  17. O. Ulloa, S. Sathyendranath, T. Platt, “Effect of the particle-size distribution on the backscattering ratio in seawater,” Appl. Opt. 33, 7070–7077 (1994). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  18. O. B. Brown, H. R. Gordon, “Two component Mie scattering models of Sargasso Sea particles,” Limnol. Oceanogr. 17, 826–832 (1973).
  19. O. B. Brown, H. R. Gordon, “Size-refractive index distribution of clear coastal water particulates from light scattering,” Appl. Opt. 13, 2874–2881 (1974). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  20. B. D. Johnson, R. C. Cooke, “Bubble populations and spectra in coastal waters: a photographic approach,” J. Geophys. Res. 84, 3761–3766 (1979). [CrossRef]
  21. H. Medwin, N. D. Breitz, “Ambient and transient bubble spectral densities in quiescent seas and under spilling breaker,” J. Geophys. Res. 94, 12,751–12,759 (1989). [CrossRef]
  22. T. J. O’Hern, L. d’Agostino, A. J. Acosta, “Comparison of holographic and coulter counter measurement of cavitation nuclei in the ocean,” Trans. ASME J. Fluids Eng. 110, 200–207 (1988). [CrossRef]
  23. D. C. Blanchard, A. H. Woodcock, “Bubble formation and modification in the sea and its meteorological significance,” Tellus 9, 145–158 (1957). [CrossRef]
  24. S. A. Thorpe, “On the clouds of bubbles formed by breaking wind-waves in deep water, and their role in air-sea gas transfer,” Philos. Trans. R. Soc. London Ser. A 304, 155–210 (1982). [CrossRef]
  25. D. M. Farmer, C. L. McNeil, B. D. Johnson, “Evidence for the importance of bubbles in increasing air-sea gas flux,” Nature (London) 361, 620–623 (1993). [CrossRef]
  26. H. Medwin, “In situ acoustic measurements of bubble populations in coastal ocean waters,” J. Geophys. Res. 75, 599–611 (1970). [CrossRef]
  27. H. Medwin, “In situ acoustic measurements of microbubbles at sea,” J. Geophys. Res. 82, 971–976 (1977). [CrossRef]
  28. E. C. Monahan, “The ocean as a source for atmospheric particles,” in The Role of Air-Sea Exchange in Geochemical Cycling, P. Buat-Menard, ed. (Reidel, Dordrecht, The Netherlands, 1986), pp. 129–163. [CrossRef]
  29. D. C. Blanchard, L. D. Syzdek, “Film drop production as a function of bubble size,” J. Geophys. Res. 93, 3649–3654 (1988). [CrossRef]
  30. J. Wu, “Bubble populations and spectra in near-surface ocean: summary and review of field measurements,” J. Geophys. Res. 86, 457–463 (1981). [CrossRef]
  31. P. L. Marston, D. L. Kingsbury, “Scattering by a bubble in water near the critical angle: interference effects,” J. Opt. Soc. Am. 71, 192–196 (1981). [CrossRef]
  32. D. L. Kingsbury, P. L. Marston, “Mie scattering near the critical angle of bubbles in water,” J. Opt. Soc. Am. 71, 358–361 (1981). [CrossRef]
  33. P. L. Marston, D. S. Langley, D. L. Kingsbury, “Light scattering by bubbles in liquids: Mie theory, physical-optics approximations, and experiments,” Appl. Sci. Res. 38, 373–383 (1982). [CrossRef]
  34. P. L. Marston, S. Billette, C. Dean, “Scattering of light by a coated bubble in water near the critical and Brewster scattering angles,” in Ocean Optics IX, M. A. Blizard, ed., Proc. SPIE925, 308–316 (1988). [CrossRef]
  35. W. Arnott, P. L. Marston, “Optical glory of small freely rising gas bubbles in water: observed and computed cross-polarized backscattering patterns,” J. Opt. Soc. Am. A 5, 496–506 (1988). [CrossRef]
  36. W. Arnott, P. L. Marston, “Unfolded optical glory of spheroids: backscattering of laser light from freely rising spheroidal air bubbles in water,” Appl. Opt. 30, 3429–3442 (1991). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  37. D. Stramski, “Gas microbubbles: an assessment of their significance to light scattering in quiescent seas,” in Ocean Optics XII, J. S. Jaffe, eds., Proc. SPIE2258, 704–710 (1994). [CrossRef]
  38. D. A. Kolovayev, “Investigation of the concentration and statistical size distribution of wind-produced bubbles in the near-surface ocean,” Oceanology 15, 659–661 (1976).
  39. A. L. Walsh, P. J. Mulhearn, “Photographic measurements of bubble populations from breaking wind waves at sea,” J. Geophys. Res. 92, 14,553–14,565 (1987). [CrossRef]
  40. G. De Leeuw, L. H. Cohen, “Bubble size distribution in coastal seas,” in Air-Water Gas Transfer, B. Jahne, E. C. Monahan, eds. (AEON Verlag and Studio, Hanau, Germany, 1995) pp. 325–336.
  41. R. E. Glazman, “Effects of adsorbed films on gas bubble radial oscillations,” J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 74, 980–986 (1983). [CrossRef]
  42. C. F. Bohren, D. R. Huffman, Absorption and Scattering of Light by Small Particles (Wiley, New York, 1983).
  43. H. C. van de Hulst, Light Scattering by Small Particles (Wiley, New York, 1957).
  44. B. D. Johnson, R. C. Cooke, “Generation of stabilized microbubbles in seawater,” Science 213, 209–211 (1981). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  45. D. E. Yount, E. W. Gillary, D. C. Hoffman, “A microscopic investigation of bubble formation nuclei,” J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 76, 1511–1521 (1984). [CrossRef]
  46. D. E. Yount, “Skins of varying permeability: a stabilization mechanism for gas cavitation nuclei,” J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 65, 1429–1439 (1979). [CrossRef]
  47. E. C. Monahan, “Near surface bubble concentration and oceanic whitecap coverage,” in Seventh Conference on Ocean-Atmosphere Interaction (American Meteorological Society, Boston, Mass., 1988), pp. 178–181.
  48. J. Wu, “Bubble flux and marine aerosol spectra under various wind velocities,” J. Geophys. Res. 97, 2327–2333 (1992). [CrossRef]
  49. J. Wu, “Bubbles in the near-surface ocean: a general description,” J. Geophys. Res. 93, 587–590 (1988). [CrossRef]
  50. B. D. Johnson, “Bubble populations: background and breaking waves,” in Oceanic Whitecaps and Their Role in Air-Sea Exchange Processes, E. C. Monahan, G. Mac Niocaill, eds. (Reidel, Dordrecht, The Netherlands, 1986), pp. 69–73.
  51. F. MacIntyre, “On reconciling optical and acoustical bubble spectra in the mixed layer,” in Oceanic Whitecaps and Their Role in Air-Sea Exchange Processes, E. C. Monahan, G. Mac Niocaill, eds. (Reidel, Dordrecht, The Netherlands, 1986), pp. 75–94.
  52. G. B. Crawford, D. M. Farmer, “On the spatial distribution of ocean bubbles,” J. Geophys. Res. 92, 8231–8243 (1987). [CrossRef]
  53. P. J. Mulhearn, “Distribution of microbubbles in coastal waters,” J. Geophys. Res. 86, 6429–6434 (1981). [CrossRef]
  54. B. D. Johnson, P. J. Wangersky, “Microbubbles: stabilization by monolayers of adsorbed particles,” J. Geophys. Res. 92, 14,641–14,647 (1987). [CrossRef]
  55. F. E. Fox, K. Herzfeld, “Gas bubbles with organic skin as cavitation nuclei,” J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 26, 984–989 (1954). [CrossRef]
  56. R. A. Meyer, “Light scattering from biological cells: dependence of backscattering radiation on membrane thickness and refractive index,” Appl. Opt. 18, 585–588 (1979). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  57. A. Morel, “Optics of marine particles and marine optics,” in Particle Analysis in Oceanography, S. Demers, ed. (Springer-Verlag, Berlin, 1990), pp. 141–188.
  58. A. Morel, Y. Ahn, “Optical efficiency factors of free-living marine bacteria: influence of bacterioplankton upon the optical properties and particulate organic carbon in oceanic waters,” J. Mar. Res. 48, 145–175 (1990). [CrossRef]
  59. C. D. Mobley, Light and Water: Radiative Transfer in Natural Waters (Academic, New York, 1994).
  60. S. A. Thorpe, P. Bowyer, D. K. Woolf, “Some factors affecting the size distributions of oceanic bubbles,” J. Phys. Oceanogr. 22, 382–389 (1992). [CrossRef]
  61. According to Mie theory, the optical efficiency depends only on refractive index and a size factor x = 2πr/λ, where r is the particle radius and λ is the wavelength. They have an equivalent but reverse effect on x. For example, that the optical efficiency is constant in the visible (400–700 nm) at r = 50 μm only requires that it does not change for r from 39 to 69 μm at λ = 550 nm. For backscattering coefficient of bubbles, this requirement is almost always satisfied for both clean and dirty bubbles (Fig. 4).
  62. S. B. Hooker, W. E. Esaias, G. C. Feldman, W. W. Gregg, C. R. McClain, “An overview of SeaWiFS and ocean color,” in SeaWiFS Technical Report Series, Vol. 1, NASA Tech. Memo. 104566 (NASA, Greenbelt, Md., 1992).

Cited By

Alert me when this paper is cited

OSA is able to provide readers links to articles that cite this paper by participating in CrossRef's Cited-By Linking service. CrossRef includes content from more than 3000 publishers and societies. In addition to listing OSA journal articles that cite this paper, citing articles from other participating publishers will also be listed.

« Previous Article  |  Next Article »

OSA is a member of CrossRef.

CrossCheck Deposited