Impact of calcification state on the inherent optical properties of Emiliania huxleyi coccoliths and coccolithophores Academic Article uri icon


  • 2014 Elsevier Ltd. Understanding the inherent optical properties (IOPs) of coccoliths and coccolithophores is important in oceanic radiative transfer simulations and remote sensing implementations. In this study, the invariant imbedding T-matrix method (II-TM) is employed to investigate the IOPs of coccoliths and coccolithophores. The Emiliania huxleyi (Ehux) coccolith and coccolithophore models are built based on observed biometric parameters including the eccentricity, the number of slits, and the rim width of detached coccoliths. The calcification state that specifies the amount of calcium of a single coccolith is critical in the determination of the size-volume/mass relationship (note, the volume/mass of coccoltihs at different calcification states are different although the diameters are the same). The present results show that the calcification state, namely, under-calcification, normal-calcification, or over-calcification, significantly influences the backscattering cross section and the phase matrix. Furthermore, the linear depolarization ratio of the light scattered by coccoliths is sensitive to the degree of calcification, and provides a potentially valuable parameter for interpreting oceanic remote sensing data. The phase function of an ensemble of randomly oriented coccolithophores has a similar pattern to that of individual coccoliths, but the forward scattering is dominant in the coccolithophores due to the large geometric cross sections. The linear depolarization ratio associated with coccolithophores is found to be larger than that for coccoliths as polarization is more sensitive to multiple scattering than the phase function. The simulated coccolithophore phase matrix numerical results are compared with laboratory measurements. For scattering angles larger than 100, an increase of the phase function with respect to the scattering angle is confirmed based on the present coccolithophore model while the spherical approximation fails.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Bi, L., & Yang, P.

citation count

  • 22

complete list of authors

  • Bi, Lei||Yang, Ping

publication date

  • April 2015