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Airborne Laser Sensing of Scottish Coastal Waters

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An Nd:YAG-based airborne lidar system has been used to measure the optical properties of littoral waters off the northwest Scottish coast. The small-scale structure of subsurface scattering layers was also investigated. Methods of solving the Lidar Sensing Equation in the single scattering approximation are described and the values of the derived extinction indices presented. The extinction index averaged over a series of five flights to the northeast of the Gulf Stream was  = 0.224 m-1 with a standard deviation of 0.212 m-1. Further, it was demonstrated that, in coastal waters, optical inhomogeneities with dimensions between 50 m and 200 km obey the power law Sp ~ k-P with the parameter P close to two. In turbid or transparent areas, the water extinction index can change by several tenths of a percent with respect to the surrounding water mass. This suggests that the observed nonmonotonic behavior of the power spectra of the water extinction index fluctuations is caused by the outer scale of turbulence, in particular, by the bottom depth at the measurement site.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: October 1, 2001

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