The use of In Situ and Airborne Fluorescence Measurements to Determine UV Absorption Coefficients and DOC Concentrations in Surface Waters

Anthony Vodacek and Frank E. Hoge
Observational Science Branch
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Wallops Flight Facility
Wallops Island, VA 23337

Robert N. Swift and James K. Yungel
EG&G Washington Analytical Services Center
Wallops Flight Facility
Wallops Island, VA 23337

Edward T. Peltzer and Neil V. Blough
Marine Chemistry and Geochemistry Department
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institutiton
Woods Hole, MA 02543

Marine Chemistry (1995) 48: 91-108.

Submitted: 5 August 1994.
Accepted: 5 October 1994.
Amended: 22 November 1994.
Published: 2 March 1995.


We compared the fluorescence (ex = 355nm, em = 450nm) of chromophore-containing dissolved organic matter (CDOM) determined in the laboratory to that determined with a shipboard fluorometer and an airborne laser fluorosensor off the U.S. mid-Atlantic coast. Fluorescence was highly correlated with CODM absorption at the excitation wavelength despite the presence of multiple sources of CODM and a changing contribution of CDOM to the total dissolved organic C (DOC) pool, both in surface waters and down the water column. The mean quantum yield (0.8 ± 0.1 %) fell within the narrow range of yields previously determined for U.S. east coast and south Florida waters. These results show that CDOM absorption can be reliably determined from in situ or airborne fluorescence over wide areas of the ocean and that it may be possible to estimate DOC concentrations from fluorescence or absorption measurements.


We thank the captain and the crew of the R/V Cape Henlopen for the smooth voyage. We also thank Steve Andrews, Sigi Caron, Mike DeGrandpre, Mike Giancola, Nancy Hayward, Sarah Herbelin, Joyce Irvine, Bob Nelson, Tim Pfeiffer and the Wallops Flight Facility Aircraft Project Office personnel for their assistance.

This is contribution number 8817 from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

Support was provided by the Office of Naval Research (NVB), NASA Headquarters (FEH), and the NASA EOS Interdisciplinary Program (NVB and ETP). This work was done while AV held an NRC-NASA resident research associateship.

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