Articles | Volume 11, issue 12
Research article
16 Jun 2014
Research article |  | 16 Jun 2014

A synthesis of light absorption properties of the Arctic Ocean: application to semianalytical estimates of dissolved organic carbon concentrations from space

A. Matsuoka, M. Babin, D. Doxaran, S. B. Hooker, B. G. Mitchell, S. Bélanger, and A. Bricaud

Abstract. In addition to scattering coefficients, the light absorption coefficients of particulate and dissolved materials are the main factors determining the light propagation of the visible part of the spectrum and are, thus, important for developing ocean color algorithms. While these absorption properties have recently been documented by a few studies for the Arctic Ocean (e.g., Matsuoka et al., 2007, 2011; Ben Mustapha et al., 2012), the data sets used in the literature were sparse and individually insufficient to draw a general view of the basin-wide spatial and temporal variations in absorption. To achieve such a task, we built a large absorption database of the Arctic Ocean by pooling the majority of published data sets and merging new data sets. Our results show that the total nonwater absorption coefficients measured in the eastern Arctic Ocean (EAO; Siberian side) are significantly higher than in the western Arctic Ocean (WAO; North American side). This higher absorption is explained by higher concentration of colored dissolved organic matter (CDOM) in watersheds on the Siberian side, which contains a large amount of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) compared to waters off North America. In contrast, the relationship between the phytoplankton absorption (aϕ(λ)) and chlorophyll a (chl a) concentration in the EAO was not significantly different from that in the WAO. Because our semianalytical CDOM absorption algorithm is based on chl a-specific aϕ(λ) values (Matsuoka et al., 2013), this result indirectly suggests that CDOM absorption can be appropriately derived not only for the WAO but also for the EAO using ocean color data. Based on statistics, derived CDOM absorption values were reasonable compared to in situ measurements. By combining this algorithm with empirical DOC versus CDOM relationships, a semianalytical algorithm for estimating DOC concentrations for river-influenced coastal waters of the Arctic Ocean is presented and applied to satellite ocean color data.

Final-revised paper