Abstract

The polarization of the reflected and transmitted radiation is calculated for a realistic model of the earth’s atmosphere at five wavelengths ranging from 0.27 μ to 1.67 μ. The single scattering matrix is calculated from the Mie theory for an aerosol size distribution appropriate for our atmosphere. The solar photons are followed through multiple collisions with the aerosols and the Rayleigh scattering centers in the atmosphere by a Monte Carlo method. The aerosol number density as well as the ratio of aerosol to Rayleigh scattering varies with height. The proportion of aerosol to Rayleigh scattering is adjusted for each wavelength; ozone absorption is included where appropriate. The polarization is presented as a function of the zenith and azimuthal angle for six values of the earth’s albedo, two values of the solar zenith angle, and four values of the total aerosol concentration. In general the polarization decreases as the wavelength increases and as the total aerosol concentration increases (because of the increasing importance of aerosol scattering). In most situations the polarization is much more sensitive than the radiance to changes in the parameters which specify the atmosphere.

© 1970 Optical Society of America

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