The scattering of visible light by clouds is calculated from an efficient Monte Carlo code which follows the multiple scattered path of the photon. The single scattering function is obtained from the Mie theory by integration over a particle size distribution appropriate for cumulus clouds at 0.7-μ wavelength. The photons are followed through a sufficient number of collisions and reflections from the lower surface (which may have any desired albedo) until they make a negligible contribution to the intensity. Various variance reduction techniques are used to improve the statistics. The cloud albedo and the mean optical path of the transmitted and reflected photons are given as a function of the solar zenith angle, optical thickness, and surface albedo. The numerous small angle scatterings of the photon in the direction of the incident beam are followed accurately and produce a greater penetration into the cloud than is obtained with a more isotropic and less realistic phase function.
© 1968 Optical Society of America
Original Manuscript: November 20, 1967
Published: March 1, 1968
Gilbert N. Plass and George W. Kattawar, "Monte Carlo Calculations of Light Scattering from Clouds," Appl. Opt. 7, 415-419 (1968)