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Applied Optics

Applied Optics


  • Vol. 20, Iss. 20 — Oct. 15, 1981
  • pp: 3661–3668

Absorption of visible radiation in atmosphere containing mixtures of absorbing and nonabsorbing particles

Thomas P. Ackerman and Owen B. Toon  »View Author Affiliations

Applied Optics, Vol. 20, Issue 20, pp. 3661-3668 (1981)

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Recent measurements of the single-scattering albedo ω ˜ 0 of tropospheric aerosols indicate the presence of a strongly absorbing material which has tentatively been identified as graphitic carbon (soot). Theoretical calculations, based on several different models of the way in which soot might be mixed with other aerosol materials, show that a minimum of 20% soot by volume is necessary to achieve the observed urban value of ω ˜ 0 = 0.6. Rural values of the order of 0.8 can be accounted for with 1–5% soot by volume. These same values of ω ˜ 0 can be produced by similar amounts of the iron oxide magnetite, which is shown to be virtually indistinguishable from soot by optical measurements performed on bulk samples. Calculations of phase functions for various mixtures of soot also indicate the difficulty of determining aerosol composition by optical scattering techniques. The climatic effects of these absorbing aeorosols are computed using a simple one-layer model, and the results suggest that heating rates in urban pollution layers may be of the order of 4 K/day.

© 1981 Optical Society of America

Original Manuscript: April 11, 1981
Published: October 15, 1981

Thomas P. Ackerman and Owen B. Toon, "Absorption of visible radiation in atmosphere containing mixtures of absorbing and nonabsorbing particles," Appl. Opt. 20, 3661-3668 (1981)

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