It is shown that measurements of the absorption coefficient and the volume-scattering function for scattering angles ≳ 15° of ocean water are sufficient for predicting the transport of irradiance in the ocean. Thus, difficult-to-measure small-angle scattering is not necessary in many applications. Furthermore, the irrelevance of small-angle scattering suggests the irrelevance of the scattering coefficient and of the routinely measured beam-attenuation coefficient in many radiative-transfer problems. Finally, these observations provide a method for determining the adequacy of instruments in which small sampling volumes (~ few cm3) are analyzed when predicting irradiance attenuation and diffuse reflection for large volumes (~ 10–104 m3).
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