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Journal of Geophysical Research-Oceans

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Abstract/ Summary

Particulate scattering and backscattering are two quantities that have traditionally been used to quantify in situ particulate concentration. The ratio of the backscattering by particles to total scattering by particles (the particulate backscattering ratio) is weakly dependent on concentration and therefore provides us with information on the characteristics of the particulate material, such as the index of refraction. The index of refraction is an indicator of the bulk particulate composition, as inorganic minerals have high indices of refraction relative to oceanic organic particles such as phytoplankton and detrital material that typically have a high water content. We use measurements collected near the Rutgers University Long-term Ecosystem Observatory in 15 m of water in the Mid-Atlantic Bight to examine application of the backscattering ratio. Using four different instruments, the HOBILabs Hydroscat-6, the WETLabs ac-9 and EcoVSF, and a prototype VSF meter, three estimates of the ratio of the particulate backscattering ratio were obtained and found to compare well. This is remarkable because these are new instruments with large differences in design and calibration. The backscattering ratio is used to map different types of particles in the nearshore region, suggesting that it may act as a tracer of water movement. We find a significant relationship between the backscattering ratio and the ratio of chlorophyll to beam attenuation. This implies that these more traditional measurements may be used to identify when phytoplankton or inorganic particles dominate. In addition, it provides an independent confirmation of the link between the backscattering ratio and the bulk composition of particles.

Citation/Publisher Attribution

Boss E, Pegau WS, Lee M, Twardowski M, Shybanov E, Korotaev G, Baratange F. Particulate Backscattering Ratio at Leo 15 and Its Use to Study Particle Composition and Distribution. Journal of Geophysical Research-Oceans. 2004;109: C01014. To view the published open abstract, go to and enter the DOI.

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Copyright 2004 American Geophysical Union.




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