The radiative transfer equation is modified to include the effect of fluorescent substances and solved in the quasi-single scattering approximation for a homogeneous ocean containing fluorescent particles with wavelength independent quantum efficiency and a Gaussian shaped emission line. The results are applied to the in vivo fluorescence of chlorophyll a (in phytoplankton) in the ocean to determine if the observed quantum efficiencies are large enough to explain the enhancement of the ocean’s diffuse reflectance near 685 nm in chlorophyll rich waters without resorting to anomalous dispersion. The computations indicate that the required efficiencies are sufficiently low to account completely for the enhanced reflectance. The validity of the theory is further demonstrated by deriving values for the upwelling irradiance attenuation coefficient at 685 nm which are in close agreement with the observations.
© 1979 Optical Society of America
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