Abstract

A series of three mathematical procedures is derived to discriminate the light absorption by phytoplankton, colored dissolved organic matter, and nonpigmented particulates in waters in which absorption is dominated by factors other than phytoplankton (i.e., case 2 waters). The procedures utilize normalized absorption cross-sectional spectra of the absorption components and matrix inversion to solve for the coefficients that scale the normalized spectra. The procedures differ in the amount of ancillary measurements incorporated to reduce the variability of the estimates. The procedure that incorporates no ancillary information is expected to be unbiased only over long time periods. Application of the procedures to a 15-day time series of continuously monitored data from the Rhode River, Maryland, revealed the presence of large (approximately twofold) changes in absorption at 440 nm over periods of a few hours. Hourly sampling over a 24-h period confirmed that the changes in measured optical coefficients corresponded to changes in water quality. Errors in estimates of absorption components were of a magnitude consistent with those observed in development of the procedures and confirmed the progressive improvement achieved by incorporation of additional information. Over the time period observed, changes in optical properties appeared to be driven by advective processes.

© 2002 Optical Society of America

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