The measurement of light absorption

We saw in Chapter 1 how the light absorption properties of the aquatic medium are characterized in terms of the absorption coefficient, a. We saw also that although a is defined in terms of the behaviour of light passing through an infinitesimally thin layer of medium, its value can nevertheless be obtained from the observed absorptance, A, of a layer of medium of finite thickness, provided that the effects of scattering can be overcome. Instruments specifically designed to measure the absorption coefficients of surface water bodies, marine or inland, are referred to as absorption meters.

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