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particle size, PSD slope, Junge distribution, LISST, Bohai Sea, Yellow Sea

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Particle size distribution (PSD) is an important parameter that is relevant to many aspects of marine ecosystems, such as phytoplankton functional types, optical absorption and scattering from particulates, sediment fluxes, and carbon export. However, only a handful of studies have documented the PSD variability in different regions. Here, we investigate the PSD properties and variability in two shallow and semi-enclosed seas (the Bohai Sea (BS) and Yellow Sea (YS)), using in situ laser diffraction measurements (LISST-100X Type C) and other measurements at 79 stations in November 2013. The results show large variability in particle concentrations (in both volume and number concentrations), with volume concentrations varying by 57-fold. The median particle diameter (Dv50) from each of the water samples also covers a large range (22.4–307.0 μm) and has an irregular statistical distribution, indicating complexity in the PSD. The PSD slopes (2.7–4.5), estimated from a power-law model, cover nearly the entire range reported previously for natural waters. Small mineral particles (with large PSD slopes) are characteristic of near-shore waters prone to sediment resuspension by winds and tides, while large biological particles (with small PSD slopes) dominate the total suspended particulates for waters away from the coast. For the BS and YS, this study provides the first report on the properties and spatial variability of the PSD, which may influence the optical properties of the ocean surface and remote sensing algorithms that are based on estimations of particle concentrations and sizes.

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Remote Sensing, v. 8, issue 11, art. 949