Abstract

The relationships between beam attenuation spectra, chlorophyll and pheophytin pigment concentrations, and particle size distributions are examined for a coastal region (Monterey Bay area) believed to have negligible concentrations of terrestrially derived dissolved organic compounds (during May 1977) but large quantities of phytoplankton and resuspended sediments. It was found that the slope of the beam attenuation spectra increases when the hyperbolic slope of the size distribution increases. The magnitude of this increase in slope was consistent with calculations based on a range of particle diameters from 0.5 to 30 μm, so that it would be possible to predict the slope of the particle size distribution if the slope of the beam attenuation spectra is known. The ratio of chlorophyll and pheophytin pigments to suspended volume concentrations affected the beam attenuation spectra to a lesser degree and in a more complex manner. Because of the strong effect of slope, it was concluded that the chlorophyll and pheophytin pigment content of suspended particles could not be efficiently predicted by means of beam attenuation measurements.

© 1982 Optical Society of America

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