Abstract

We examine and compare near-forward light scattering that is caused by turbulence and typical particulate assemblages in the ocean. The near-forward scattering by particles was calculated using Mie theory for homogeneous spheres and particle size distributions representative of natural assemblages in the ocean. Direct numerical simulations of a passive scalar with Prandtl number 7 mixed by homogeneous turbulence were used to represent temperature fluctuations and resulting inhomogeneities in the refractive index of water. Light scattering on the simulated turbulent flow was calculated using the geometrical-optics approximation. We found that the smallest temperature scales contribute the most to scattering, and that scattering on turbulence typically dominates over scattering on particles for small angles as large as 0.1°. The scattering angle deviation that is due to turbulence for a light beam propagating over a 0.25-m path length in the oceanic water can be as large as 0.1°. In addition, we carried out a preliminary laboratory experiment that illustrates the differences in the near-forward scattering on refractive-index inhomogeneities and particles.

© 1998 Optical Society of America

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