Document Type


Publication Title

Optics Express

Rights and Access Note

This Item is protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use this item in any way that is permitted by copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. Rights assessment remains the responsibility of the researcher. In addition, no permission is required from the rights-holder(s) for non-commercial uses.

Publication Date


First Page


Last Page


Issue Number


Volume Number


Abstract/ Summary

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 b bp 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, b bp and cp are coupled in the surface open ocean, but they are also affected by other geographical and temporal variations.

Citation/Publisher Attribution

Dall’Olmo, G., E. Boss, M.J. Behrenfeld, and T.K. Westberry, 2012. Particulate optical scattering coefficients along an Atlantic Meridional Transect, Opt. Express 20, No. 19, 21532-21551

Publisher Statement

©2012 Optical Society of America




publisher's version of the published document



Rights Statement

In Copyright - Educational Use Permitted.