Abstract

The backward-scattering coefficient b b is an important optical property that plays a central role in studies of ocean-color remote sensing, suspended particle distributions, water clarity, and underwater visibility. We investigate the fixed-angle backscattering sensor approach for the application of measuring b b. Analysis shows that the sensor response to volume scattering can be expressed as the integral of the volume scattering function (VSF) over the backward angles (90–180°) weighted by the sensor-response function. We present a procedure for determining the sensor-response function that contains all the information necessary to calibrate the sensor fully to measure the VSF at a nominal backscattering angle. It is shown that, for fixed-angle backscattering sensors, b b is most accurately estimated when the sensor-response function covers the middle range of backscattering angles, roughly 110–160°, where the shape of the VSF has the least variability. Backscattering at and near the end angles, namely, 90° and 180°, are least correlated with b b. We describe a variety of spectral backscattering sensors that we have developed, and we present their sensor-response functions.

© 1997 Optical Society of America

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