Abstract

Improved ray-optics theory and Mie theory for single scattering and an adding–doubling method for multiple scattering have been used to study the interaction of radiation in NASA’s Visible and Infrared Spin-Scan Radiometer Atmospheric Sounder Satellite (VAS) IR channels and the microphysics of inhomogeneous cirrus clouds. The simulation study shows that crystal shape has remarkable effects on scattering and on the radiative-transfer properties of cirrus clouds in IR spectra. The sensitivity of the brightness temperature, as observed with VAS-IR channels, to the hexagonal columns and plates in cirrus clouds is noticeable. A method that permits one to infer the optical thickness, crystal shape, ice–water content, and emittance of cirrus clouds by using a multi-IR window channel with a scanning observation technique is developed. Detailed error analyses are carried out, and the characteristics of VAS-IR window channels are investigated through the examination of the effects of sea-surface reflection and variations in the temperature and water-vapor profiles on the VAS measurements. It is shown that these effects are large and need to be considered. Some uncertainties that have risen from the theoretical model are studied; they demonstrate that the Mie-scattering theory should not be used to retrieve the microphysical and optical properties of cirrus clouds. A suitable cloud-microphysics model and a suitable scattering model are needed instead.

© 1995 Optical Society of America

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