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Applied Optics

Applied Optics

APPLICATIONS-CENTERED RESEARCH IN OPTICS

  • Editor: Joseph N. Mait
  • Vol. 48, Iss. 24 — Aug. 20, 2009
  • pp: 4663–4675

Role of measurement uncertainties in observed variability in the spectral backscattering ratio: a case study in mineral-rich coastal waters

David McKee, Malik Chami, Ian Brown, Violeta Sanjuan Calzado, David Doxaran, and Alex Cunningham  »View Author Affiliations


Applied Optics, Vol. 48, Issue 24, pp. 4663-4675 (2009)
http://dx.doi.org/10.1364/AO.48.004663


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Abstract

The particulate backscattering ratio ( b b p / b p ) is a useful indicator of the angular scattering characteristics of natural waters. Recent studies have shown evidence both for and against significant spectral variability in b b p / b p in the visible domain, but most show significant variability in its magnitude. We present results from a case study in which both backscattering and scattering coefficients were measured at nine wavelengths in a region of UK coastal waters where optical scattering is strongly influenced by inorganic particles and where a wide range of turbidities is found in a small geographic area. Using a new approach based on regression analysis of in situ signals, it is shown that, for this study site, most of the apparent variability in the magnitude of the backscattering ratio can be attributed to measurement uncertainties. Regression analysis suggests that b b p / b p is wavelength dependent for these mineral-rich waters. This conclusion can only be avoided by positing the existence of undocumented, systematic, wavelength- dependent errors in backscattering measurements made by two independently calibrated sensors. These results are important for radiative transfer simulations in mineral-dominated waters where the backscattering ratio has often been assumed to be spectrally flat. Furthermore, spectral dependence also has profound implications for our understanding of the relationship between b b p / b p and particle size distributions in coastal waters since the commonly assumed power-law distribution is associated with a spectrally flat particulate backscattering ratio for nonabsorbing particles.

© 2009 Optical Society of America

OCIS Codes
(010.4450) Atmospheric and oceanic optics : Oceanic optics
(010.4458) Atmospheric and oceanic optics : Oceanic scattering
(010.1350) Atmospheric and oceanic optics : Backscattering

ToC Category:
Atmospheric and Oceanic Optics

History
Original Manuscript: November 24, 2008
Revised Manuscript: July 22, 2009
Manuscript Accepted: July 23, 2009
Published: August 11, 2009

Citation
David McKee, Malik Chami, Ian Brown, Violeta Sanjuan Calzado, David Doxaran, and Alex Cunningham, "Role of measurement uncertainties in observed variability in the spectral backscattering ratio: a case study in mineral-rich coastal waters," Appl. Opt. 48, 4663-4675 (2009)
http://www.opticsinfobase.org/ao/abstract.cfm?URI=ao-48-24-4663

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