OSA's Digital Library

Applied Optics

Applied Optics


  • Vol. 41, Iss. 24 — Aug. 20, 2002
  • pp: 5130–5141

Model for optical forward scattering by nonspherical raindrops

Oliver N. Ross and Stuart G. Bradley  »View Author Affiliations

Applied Optics, Vol. 41, Issue 24, pp. 5130-5141 (2002)

View Full Text Article

Enhanced HTML    Acrobat PDF (473 KB)

Browse Journals / Lookup Meetings

Browse by Journal and Year


Lookup Conference Papers

Close Browse Journals / Lookup Meetings

Article Tools



We describe a numerical model for the interaction of light with large raindrops using realistic nonspherical drop shapes. We apply geometrical optics and a Monte Carlo technique to perform ray traces through the drops. We solve the problem of diffraction independently by approximating the drops with area-equivalent ellipsoids. Scattering patterns are obtained for different polarizations of the incident light. They exhibit varying degrees of asymmetry and depolarization that can be linked to the distortion and thus the size of the drops. The model is extended to give a simplified long-path integration.

© 2002 Optical Society of America

OCIS Codes
(050.1940) Diffraction and gratings : Diffraction
(080.2720) Geometric optics : Mathematical methods (general)
(290.5850) Scattering : Scattering, particles

Original Manuscript: February 13, 2002
Revised Manuscript: May 2, 2002
Published: August 20, 2002

Oliver N. Ross and Stuart G. Bradley, "Model for optical forward scattering by nonspherical raindrops," Appl. Opt. 41, 5130-5141 (2002)

Sort:  Author  |  Year  |  Journal  |  Reset  


  1. P. Lenard, “Über Regen,” Meteorol. Z. 21, 249–260 (1904); for English translation, see Q. J. R. Meteorol. Soc. 31, 62–73 (1905).
  2. C. Magono, “On the shape of water drops falling in stagnant air,” J. Meteorol. 11, 77–79 (1954). [CrossRef]
  3. H. R. Pruppacher, K. V. Beard, “A wind tunnel investigation of the internal circulation and shape of water drops falling at terminal velocity in air,” Q. J. R. Meteorol. Soc. 96, 247–256 (1970). [CrossRef]
  4. K. V. Beard, C. Chuang, “A new model for the equilibrium shape of raindrops,” J. Atmos. Sci. 44, 1509–1524 (1987). [CrossRef]
  5. C. Chuang, K. V. Beard, “A numerical model for the equilibrium shape of electrified raindrops,” J. Atmos. Sci. 47, 1374–1389 (1990). [CrossRef]
  6. W. J. Glantschnig, S.-H. Chen, “Light scattering from water droplets in the geometrical optics approximation,” Appl. Opt. 20, 2499–2509 (1981). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  7. L. G. Kazovsky, “Estimation of particle size distributions from forward scattering data,” Appl. Opt. 23, 455–464 (1984). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  8. J. A. Lock, “Ray scattering by an arbitrarily oriented spheroid. II. Transmission and cross-polarization effects,” Appl. Opt. 35, 515–531 (1996). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  9. G. S. Stamaskos, D. Yova, N. K. Uzunoglu, “Integral equation model of light scattering by an oriented monodisperse system of triaxial dielectric ellipsoids: application in ectacytometry,” Appl. Opt. 36, 6503–6512 (1997). [CrossRef]
  10. A. Macke, M. Großklaus, “Light scattering by nonspherical raindrops: implications for lidar remote sensing of rainrates,” J. Quant. Spectrosc. Radiat. Transfer 60, 355–363 (1998). [CrossRef]
  11. O. N. Ross, “Optical remote sensing of rainfall micro-structures,” Diplomarbeit thesis (Fachbereich Physik der Freien Universität Berlin, Berlin, 2000), http://www.soton.ac.uk/∼onr/MSc/Diplom.html .
  12. A. Macke, M. I. Mishchenko, K. Muinonen, B. E. Carlson, “Scattering of light by large nonspherical particles: ray-tracing approximation versus T-matrix method,” Opt. Lett. 20, 1934–1936 (1995). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  13. G. A. Shah, “Geometrical optics and diffraction vis-à-vis Mie theory of scattering of electromagnetic radiation by a sphere,” Astrophys. Space Sci. 193, 317–328 (1992). [CrossRef]
  14. H. C. van de Hulst, Light Scattering by Small Particles (Wiley, New York, 1957).
  15. C. F. Bohren, D. R. Huffman, Absorption and Scattering of Light by Small Particles (Wiley, New York, 1983).
  16. E. Hecht, Optics, 2nd ed. (Addison-Wesley, Reading, Mass., 1987).
  17. M. Born, E. Wolf, Principles of Optics, 6th ed. (with corrections) (Pergamon, Oxford, 1989), pp. 395–399.
  18. D. H. Towne, Wave Phenomena (Addison-Wesley, Reading, Mass., 1967), pp. 458–464.
  19. M. Françon, Diffraction, Coherence in Optics (Pergamon, London, 1966), pp. 36–37.
  20. J. S. Marshall, W. K. Palmer, “The distribution of raindrops with size,” J. Meteorol. 5, 165–166 (1948). [CrossRef]
  21. E. D. Hinkley, ed., Laser Monitoring of the Atmosphere, Vol. 14 of Topics in Applied Physics (Springer-Verlag, Berlin, 1976), p. 101.
  22. J. Joss, A. Waldvogel, “Raindrop size distribution and sampling size errors,” J. Atmos. Sci. 26, 566–569 (1967). [CrossRef]
  23. R. Gunn, G. D. Kinzer, “The terminal velocity of fall for water drops in stagnant air,” J. Meteorol. 6, 243–248 (1949). [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