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Dissolved organic matter (DOM) absorbance and fluorescence were used as optical proxies to track terrestrial DOM fluxes through estuaries and coastal waters by comparing models developed for several coastal ecosystems. Key to using these optical properties is validating and calibrating them with chemical measurements, such as lignin-derived phenols—a proxy to quantify terrestrial DOM. Utilizing parallel factor analysis (PARAFAC), and comparing models statistically using the OpenFluor database we have common, ubiquitous fluorescing components which correlate most strongly with lignin phenol concentrations in several estuarine and coastal environments. This wide variability suggested that local or regional optical models should be developed for predicting terrestrial DOM flux into coastal oceans and taken into account when upscaling to remote sensing observations and calibrations.

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