Proceedings PaperGas microbubbles: an assessment of their significance to light scattering in quiescent seas
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In this study the main features of the light scattering by an air bubble in water are summarized using Mie scattering calculations. The possible contribution of persistent populations of microbubbles to total scattering and backscattering coefficients of sea water in quiescent seas is evaluated. This assessment is made assuming various concentrations and size distributions of bubbles larger than 20 micrometers in diameter, which are representative of surface waters during nearly calm sea conditions. It appears that the contribution of these bubbles to the total scattering and backscattering coefficients cannot be neglected in some oceanic situations. This contribution varies between a fraction of 1% to several percent, and might possibly be as high as a dozen or so percent. The major uncertainty in these calculations is the lack of simultaneous measurements of bubbles and light scattering. In addition, because no in situ data about bubbles less than 20 micrometers in size are available, these small bubbles are not taken into account in the present assessment.