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Open AccessArticle

Advantages and Limitations to the Use of Optical Measurements to Study Sediment Properties

University of Maine, Orono, ME 04469, USA
U.S. Geological Survey, Woods Hole, MA 02543, USA
Dalhousie University, 1355 Oxford Street, Halifax, NS B3H 4R2, Canada
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Appl. Sci. 2018, 8(12), 2692;
Received: 6 September 2018 / Revised: 12 December 2018 / Accepted: 12 December 2018 / Published: 19 December 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Outstanding Topics in Ocean Optics)
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. View Full-Text
Keywords: particle dynamics; optical properties; suspended sediment particle dynamics; optical properties; suspended sediment
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Boss, E.; Sherwood, C.R.; Hill, P.; Milligan, T. Advantages and Limitations to the Use of Optical Measurements to Study Sediment Properties. Appl. Sci. 2018, 8, 2692.

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