Optically significant particle sizes in seawater

Emlyn Davies, David McKee, David George Bowers, George W. Graham, W. Alex M. Nimmo-Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

14 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Small particles (<10  μm) are often considered to play the dominant role in controlling scattering and absorption due to their relatively large numbers, which are typically found in the ocean. Here we present an approach for quantifying the size range of particles that contribute significantly to bulk inherent optical properties. We present a numerical assessment of the variability in optically significant particle sizes for simplistic populations that conform to the assumptions of homogeneous, spherical particles, and power-law size distributions. We use numerical predictions from Mie theory to suggest minimum and maximum particle sizes required for accurate predictions and observations of ocean optics for different particle size distributions (PSDs). When considering observed ranges of PSDs, our predictions suggest the need for measurements of optical properties and particles to capture information from particle sizes between diameters of 0.05–2000 μm in order to properly constrain relationships between particles and their associated optical properties. Natural particle populations in the ocean may present more complex PSDs that could be analyzed using the method presented here to establish optically significant size classes.
LanguageEnglish
Pages1067-1074
Number of pages8
JournalApplied Optics
Volume53
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 20 Feb 2014

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particle size distribution
oceans
optical properties
predictions
Mie scattering
optics
scattering

Keywords

  • small particles
  • seawater
  • particle sizes
  • ocean

Cite this

Davies, E., McKee, D., Bowers, D. G., Graham, G. W., & Nimmo-Smith, W. A. M. (2014). Optically significant particle sizes in seawater. Applied Optics, 53(6), 1067-1074. https://doi.org/10.1364/AO.53.001067
Davies, Emlyn ; McKee, David ; Bowers, David George ; Graham, George W. ; Nimmo-Smith, W. Alex M. / Optically significant particle sizes in seawater. In: Applied Optics. 2014 ; Vol. 53, No. 6. pp. 1067-1074.
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Davies, E, McKee, D, Bowers, DG, Graham, GW & Nimmo-Smith, WAM 2014, 'Optically significant particle sizes in seawater' Applied Optics, vol. 53, no. 6, pp. 1067-1074. https://doi.org/10.1364/AO.53.001067

Optically significant particle sizes in seawater. / Davies, Emlyn; McKee, David; Bowers, David George; Graham, George W.; Nimmo-Smith, W. Alex M.

In: Applied Optics, Vol. 53, No. 6, 20.02.2014, p. 1067-1074.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Davies E, McKee D, Bowers DG, Graham GW, Nimmo-Smith WAM. Optically significant particle sizes in seawater. Applied Optics. 2014 Feb 20;53(6):1067-1074. https://doi.org/10.1364/AO.53.001067