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Optics Express

Optics Express

  • Editor: Michael Duncan
  • Vol. 14, Iss. 14 — Jul. 10, 2006
  • pp: 6381–6393

Polarization and effective Mueller matrix for multiple scattering of light by nonspherical ice crystals

Ryan Lawless, Yu Xie, Ping Yang, George W. Kattawar, and Istvan Laszlo  »View Author Affiliations

Optics Express, Vol. 14, Issue 14, pp. 6381-6393 (2006)

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We investigated the errors associated with the scalar approximation (i.e., an approach that neglects polarization effects) for simulating the intensity of the radiation reflected by an ice cloud. In a case for an optical thickness of τ=1, the relative errors of the scalar approximation are typically between -0.5% and 0.1%. We also investigated the effect of the order of scattering on the degree of linear polarization. It is shown that substantial errors can be introduced by the first-order scattering approximation, and thus, the multiple-scattering effect is essential to an accurate simulation of the polarization configuration of a radiation field. Furthermore, we investigate the effective Mueller matrix pertaining to multiple scattering of light by ice clouds. The effective Mueller matrix is a 4×4 matrix that relates the incident and scattered Stokes parameters. This matrix implicitly contains the effects of all orders of scattering and absorbing events in the entire radiation transfer process. The sensitivity of the (2,1) and (3,1) elements of the effective Mueller matrix to ice crystal shape and size indicates that polarimetric information may be useful for inferring the microphysical properties of ice crystals within ice clouds.

© 2006 Optical Society of America

OCIS Codes
(010.1310) Atmospheric and oceanic optics : Atmospheric scattering
(030.5620) Coherence and statistical optics : Radiative transfer
(120.5410) Instrumentation, measurement, and metrology : Polarimetry
(120.5700) Instrumentation, measurement, and metrology : Reflection
(260.5430) Physical optics : Polarization
(280.1310) Remote sensing and sensors : Atmospheric scattering
(290.1090) Scattering : Aerosol and cloud effects

ToC Category:
Atmospheric and ocean optics

Original Manuscript: April 6, 2006
Revised Manuscript: June 8, 2006
Manuscript Accepted: June 23, 2006
Published: July 10, 2006

Ryan Lawless, Yu Xie, Ping Yang, George W. Kattawar, and Istvan Laszlo, "Polarization and effective Mueller matrix for multiple scattering of light by nonspherical ice crystals," Opt. Express 14, 6381-6393 (2006)

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