Abstract

Analysis of several million particulate volume scattering functions (VSFs) from different field sites around the world’s oceans and coastlines revealed that the shape of the VSF in the backward direction was remarkably consistent (5% or less variability at angles between 90° and 170°). In agreement with theoretical models and past field measurements, the variability of the VSF shape (the VSF normalized to the backscattering coefficient) was found to be lowest between 110° and 120°. This study concludes that under most oceanic conditions, estimates of the particulate backscattering coefficient, using single angle scattering measurements near 110° to 120° and suitable conversion factors, are justified and should have a maximum uncertainty of less than a few percent once instrument noise is accounted for.

© 2009 Optical Society of America

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