Abstract

Suspended particulate matter plays a significant role in the studies of sediment fluxes, phytoplankton dynamics, and water optical properties. This study focuses on the relationships between particle size distribution (PSD), water’s inherent optical properties (IOPs), and water constituents. We investigated the complex waters of Poyang Lake, the largest freshwater lake in China, in wet and dry seasons during 2008–2011. Because of the distinct temporal–spatial variation of Poyang Lake, these parameters and relationships also demonstrate seasonal and regional variability. The variation range of the concentration of suspended particulate matter is 0.3269.08  mg/l, with a mean value of 22.21  mg/l. The median particle size in the dry season is much larger than that of the wet season. The Junge distribution fits the PSD of Poyang Lake very well in the scope of 6.21–331 μm. Furthermore, the slopes of the PSD range from 3.54 to 4.69, with a mean value of 4.11, with the steepest slopes (>4.5) occurring in the waters around Songmen Mountain Island and the northern waterway. A negative correlation was found between median particle size (Dv50) and the mass-specific absorption coefficient at 443 nm [apm(443)] for both wet and dry seasons. Identical to analogous waters, the spectral slopes of the PSD correlate well with the spectral slopes of the attenuation coefficient, but with different fitted formulas. In the dry season, the particle size can better explain the variability of the scattering coefficient, while the mass-specific scattering coefficient is better explained by the apparent density. However, no similar results were found for the wet season. In addition, the spectral slopes of the backscattering coefficient correlated well with the PSD slope, and the bulk refractive index calculated from the backscattering ratio and PSD slope can indicate the particle composition of Poyang Lake. Overall, the knowledge on the PSD and IOPs gained in this study broadens our understanding of water optics in highly turbid water columns.

© 2016 Optical Society of America

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