Optical closure in marine waters from in situ inherent optical property measurements

Ina Kostakis, Fethi Bengil, Charles Trees, Rüdiger Röttgers, David Bowers, Alex Nimmo-Smith, Jill Schwarz, David McKee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Optical closure using radiative transfer simulations can be used to determine the consistency of in situ measurements of inherent optical properties (IOPs) and radiometry. Three scattering corrections are applied to in situ absorption and attenuation profile data for a range of coastal and oceanic waters, but are found to have only very limited impact on subsequent closure attempts for these stations. Best-fit regressions on log-transformed measured and modelled downwards irradiance, Ed, and upwards radiance, Lu, profiles have median slopes between 0.92 – 1.24, revealing a tendency to underestimate Ed and Lu with depth. This is only partly explained by non-inclusion of fluorescence emission from CDOM and chlorophyll in the simulations. There are several stations where multiple volume scattering function related data processing steps perform poorly which suggests the potential existence of unresolved features in the modelling of the angular distribution of scattered photons. General optical closure therefore remains problematic, even though there are many cases in the data set where the match between measured and modelled radiometric data is within 25% RMS%E. These results are significant for applications that rely on optical closure e.g. assimilating ocean colour data into coupled physical-ecosystem models.
Original languageEnglish
Article number264909
Pages (from-to)14036-14052
Number of pages17
JournalOptics Express
Issue number13
Early online date15 Jun 2016
Publication statusPublished - 27 Jun 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • absorption
  • oceanic optics
  • radiative transfer


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