© The Author(s), 2018. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License. The definitive version was published in Boss, E., Sherwood, C. R., Hill, P., & Milligan, T. Advantages and limitations to the use of optical measurements to study sediment properties. Applied Sciences-Basel, 8(12), (2018):2692, doi:10.3390/app8122692.
Measurements of optical properties have been used for decades to study particle distributions in the ocean. They are useful for estimating suspended mass concentration as well as particle-related properties such as size, composition, packing (particle porosity or density), and settling velocity. Measurements of optical properties are, however, biased, as certain particles, because of their size, composition, shape, or packing, contribute to a specific property more than others. Here, we study this issue both theoretically and practically, and we examine different optical properties collected simultaneously in a bottom boundary layer to highlight the utility of such measurements. We show that the biases we are likely to encounter using different optical properties can aid our studies of suspended sediment. In particular, we investigate inferences of settling velocity from vertical profiles of optical measurements, finding that the effects of aggregation dynamics can seldom be ignored.
This work was supported by the Office of Naval Research and the United States Geological Survey Coastal and Marine Geology Program. The unique instrument platform and data acquisition system was designed and built by technical staff lead by Marinna Martini at the United States Geological Survey Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center. This team was also responsible for deployment and recovery of the instrumentation. We thank the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) MVCO staff for support during this experiment, and we thank the captains and crews of the R/V Connecticut and the R/V Tioga. Any use of trade,
product, or firm names is for descriptive purposes only and does not imply endorsement by the United States Government. This paper has benefited significantly from insightful comments from D. Stramski, A. Aretxabaleta and two anonymous reviewers.
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