Classical optics holds that the extinction cross of particles should be equal to twice their geometric cross section, in the limit where the particles are much larger than the wavelength. It follows that the extinction coefficient of such large scatterers should be independent of wavelength. Snowflakes are much larger than the wavelengths of visible and infrared radiation, yet many investigators have found that the visible and infrared extinction coefficient of falling snow measured with transmissometers is wavelength dependent. This dependency is known to be a result of the scattering contribution to the transmissometer signal. Furthermore, many measurements in the visible and infrared show that extinction values measured simultaneously with two transmissometers are linearly related up to at least 12 km−1. The slope depends on the wavelengths and optical characteristics of the transmissometers. We show that for small values of extinction, the observations can be explained by taking into account single-scattering contributions to transmissometer signals. For high values of extinction, a multiple-scattering model gives good agreement with measurements.
© 1992 Optical Society of America
Original Manuscript: April 1, 1991
Published: August 20, 1992
D. L. Hutt, L. R. Bissonnette, D. St. Germain, and J. Oman, "Extinction of visible and infrared beams by falling snow," Appl. Opt. 31, 5121-5132 (1992)