OSA's Digital Library

Applied Optics

Applied Optics


  • Vol. 22, Iss. 7 — Apr. 1, 1983
  • pp: 1036–1050

Effects of the El Chichon volcanic cloud in the stratosphere on the polarization of light from the sky

Kinsell L. Coulson  »View Author Affiliations

Applied Optics, Vol. 22, Issue 7, pp. 1036-1050 (1983)

View Full Text Article

Enhanced HTML    Acrobat PDF (2216 KB)

Browse Journals / Lookup Meetings

Browse by Journal and Year


Lookup Conference Papers

Close Browse Journals / Lookup Meetings

Article Tools



A dense volcanic cloud from the El Chichon volcanic eruption has been observed in the stratosphere over Hawaii since it was first discovered at the Mauna Loa Observatory 9 Apr. 1982. Lidar observations have shown the cloud to have been dense and highly layered in its early stages, but as the cloud matured it became more homogeneous and the top portion underwent considerable enhancement. Measurements of the degree of polarization of skylight at the zenith and across the sky in the sun’s vertical show that the polarization field is strongly modified by the effects of the cloud and that the modifications are of a different nature from those produced by high turbidity in the lower layers of the atmosphere. The degree of polarization at the zenith during twilight shows a secondary maximum at a solar depression D = 4.8–5°, a secondary minimum at D = 4°, a primary maximum at D = 1–2°, and a rapid decrease to values generally <10% in the immediate sunrise period. The positions of the neutral points are strongly affected by the cloud, the Arago point being shifted from its normal position by as much as 15–20° and the Babinet point being shifted even farther. Multiple Babinet points were observed on some occasions. The measurements indicate the polarization field to be modified more by the El Chichon cloud than it was by the clouds from previous eruptions which have occurred during this century.

© 1983 Optical Society of America

Original Manuscript: October 12, 1982
Published: April 1, 1983

Kinsell L. Coulson, "Effects of the El Chichon volcanic cloud in the stratosphere on the polarization of light from the sky," Appl. Opt. 22, 1036-1050 (1983)

Sort:  Author  |  Year  |  Journal  |  Reset  


  1. Z. Sekera, Polarization of Skylight, Compedium of Meteorology (American Meteorological Society, Boston, 1950), pp. 79–90.
  2. Z. Sekera, J. Opt. Soc. Am. 47, 484 (1957). [CrossRef]
  3. F. Volz, J. Geophys. Res. 75, 5185 (1970). [CrossRef]
  4. F. Volz, J. Geophys. Res. 80, 2643 (1975). [CrossRef]
  5. G. Steinhorst, Appl. Opt. 13, 219 (1974). [CrossRef]
  6. K. L. Coulson, Appl. Opt. 19, 3469 (1980). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  7. K. L. Coulson, Appl. Opt. 20, 1516 (1981). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  8. E. C. Pickering, “A New Form of Polarimeter,” in Proceedings, American Academy of Arts and Sciences XIII, New Series (1884), pp. 294–302.
  9. A. Cornu, “Observations relative a la couronne visible actuellement autour du Soleil,” C. R. Acad. Sci. Paris 99, 488 (1884).
  10. H. H. Kimball, “Observations of Solar Radiation with the Angstrom Pyrheliometer at Asheville and Black Mountain, N.C.,” Mon. Weather Rev. 31, 320 (1903). [CrossRef]
  11. H. H. Kimball, “The Effect upon Atmospheric Transparency of the Eruption of Katmai, Volcano,” Mon. Weather Rev. 41, 153 (1913). [CrossRef]
  12. H. H. Kimball, “The Effect of the Atmospheric Turbidity of 1912 on Solar Radiation Intensities and Skylight Polarization,” Bulletin Mt. Weather Observatory V, 295 (1913).
  13. C. Dorno, “Himmelselligkeit, Himmelspolarisation, und Sonnenintensitat in Davos (1911 bis 1918),” Meteorol. Z. 36, 109, 181 (1919).
  14. G. M. Shah, Tellus 21, 636 (1969). [CrossRef]
  15. J. V. Dave, K. R. Ramanathan, Proc. Indian Acad. Sci. Sect. A 43, No. 2, 67 (1956).
  16. J. V. Dave, Proc. Indian Acad. Sci. Sect. A 43, No. 6, 336 (1956).
  17. F. Link, M. T. Martel, Ann. Geophys. 32, 157 (1976).
  18. G. V. Rozenberg, Twilight: A Study in Atmospheric Optics, A. E. Stibb, Translator (Plenum, New York, 1966).
  19. W. G. Blattner, H. G. Horak, D. G. Collins, M. B. Wells, Appl. Opt. 13, 534 (1974). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  20. N. B. Divari, Atmos. Oceanic Phys. 3, 507 (1967).
  21. W. G. Blattner, “Light Scattering in Spherical Shell Atmospheres,” in Proceedings, International Symposium on Radiation in Atmosphere, Garmisch-Partenkirchen (Princeton Science Press, Princeton, N.J., 1976), pp. 268–270.
  22. R. Robley, Ann. Geophys. 6, No. 3, 157 (1950).
  23. G. Dietze, Meteorol. Z. 19, 5/6, 129 (1967).
  24. G. Steinhorst, Contrib. Atmos. Phys. 50, No. 4, 508 (1977).
  25. K. L. Coulson, R. L. Walraven, G. I. Weight, L. B. Soohoo, Appl. Opt. 13, 497 (1974). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  26. R. L. Walraven, Sol. Energy 20, 393 (1978). [CrossRef]
  27. B. J. Wilkinson, Sol. Energy 27, 67 (1981). [CrossRef]
  28. C. Jensen, Die Himmelsstrahlung, Handbuch der Physik, Bd. 19 (Springer, Berlin, 1928), pp. 70–152.
  29. A. Gockel, “Beitrage zur Kenntnis von Farbe und Polarisation des Himmelslichtes,” Ann. Phys. Leipzig 62, No. 4, 283 (1920). [CrossRef]
  30. J. J. Tichanowsky, “Resultate der Messungen der Himmelspolarisation in verschiedenen Specktrumabschnitten,” Meteorol. Z. 43, 288 (1926).
  31. J. J. Tichanowski, “Die Bestimmung des optischen Anisotropiekoeffizienten der Luftmolekulen durch Messungen der Himmelspolarisation,” Phys. Z. 28, 252 (1927).
  32. C. Jensen, “Beitrage zur Photometric des Himmels,” Meteorol. Z. 14, 488 (1899).
  33. C. Jensen, “Normale, gestorte und pseudonormale Polarisations-Erscheinungen der Atmosphare,” Meteorol. Z. 49, 419 (1932).
  34. F. Ahlgrimm, “Zur Theorie der atmospharischen Polarisation,” Jb. Hamburg, Wiss. Anst. 32, 1 (1915).
  35. J. L. Soret, “Influence des surfaces d’eau sur la polarisation atmospherique et observation de deux points nuetres a droite et a gauche du Soleil,” C. R. Acad. Sci. 107, 867 (1888).
  36. C. Jensen, Die Polarisation des Himmelslichts, Handbuch der Geophysik, Bd. 8 (Berlin, 1942), pp. 527–620.
  37. Z. Sekera et al. “Investigation of Polarization of Skylight,” Final Report, Contr. AF 19(122)-239, U. California, Los Angeles (1955).
  38. G. C. Holzworth, C. R. Nagaraja Rao, J. Opt. Soc. Am. 55, 403 (1965). [CrossRef]
  39. K. L. Coulson, J. Quant. Spectrosc. Radiat. Transfer 11, 739 (1971). [CrossRef]
  40. J. V. Dave, Appl. Opt. 9, 2673 (1970). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  41. G. N. Plass, G. W. Kattawar, J. Atmos. Sci. 28, 1187 (1971). [CrossRef]
  42. M. Kano, “Effect of a Turbid Layer on Radiation Emerging from a Planetary Atmosphere,” Ph.D. Dissertation, Department of Meteorology, U. California, Los Angeles (1964).
  43. H. Neuberger, Bull. Am. Meteorol. Soc. 31, 119 (1950).
  44. K. L. Coulson, “Atmospheric Turbidity Determinations by Skylight Measurements at the Mauna Loa Observatory,” Department of Land, Air and Water Resources, U. California, Davis Contrib. Atmos. Sci. No. 13 (1977).
  45. R. S. Fraser, J. Opt. Soc. Am. 58, 1029 (1968). [CrossRef]

Cited By

Alert me when this paper is cited

OSA is able to provide readers links to articles that cite this paper by participating in CrossRef's Cited-By Linking service. CrossRef includes content from more than 3000 publishers and societies. In addition to listing OSA journal articles that cite this paper, citing articles from other participating publishers will also be listed.

« Previous Article  |  Next Article »

OSA is a member of CrossRef.

CrossCheck Deposited