Radiative properties of cirrus clouds in the infrared (8-13 mu m) spectral region Conference Paper uri icon


  • Atmospheric radiation in the infrared (IR) 8-13 m spectral region contains a wealth of information that is very useful for the retrieval of ice cloud properties from aircraft or space-borne measurements. To provide the scattering and absorption properties of nonspherical ice crystals that are fundamental to the IR retrieval implementation, we use the finite-difference time-domain (FDTD) method to solve for the extinction efficiency, single-scattering albedo, and the asymmetry parameter of the phase function for ice crystals smaller than 40 m. For particles larger than this size, the improved geometric optics method (IGOM) can be employed to calculate the asymmetry parameter with an acceptable accuracy, provided that we properly account for the inhomogeneity of the refracted wave due to strong absorption inside the ice particle. A combination of the results computed from the two methods provides the asymmetry parameter for the entire practical range of particle sizes between 1 and 10,000 m over the wavelengths ranging from 8 to 13 m. For the extinction and absorption efficiency calculations, several methods including the IGOM, Mie solution for equivalent spheres (MSFES), and the anomalous diffraction theory (ADT) can lead to a substantial discontinuity in comparison with the FDTD solutions for particle sizes on the order of 40 m. To overcome this difficulty, we have developed a novel approach called the stretched scattering potential method (SSPM). For the IR 8-13 m spectral region, we show that SSPM is a more accurate approximation than ADT, MSFES, and IGOM. The SSPM solution can be further refined numerically. Through a combination of the FDTD and SSPM, the extinction and absorption efficiencies are computed for hexagonal ice crystals with sizes ranging from 1 to 10,000 m at 12 wavelengths between 8 and 13 m. Calculations of the cirrus bulk scattering and absorption properties are performed for 30 size distributions obtained from various field campaigns for midlatitude and tropical cirrus cloud systems. Ice crystals are assumed to be hexagonal columns randomly oriented in space. The bulk scattering properties are parameterized through the use of second-order polynomial functions for the extinction efficiency and the single-scattering albedo and a power-law expression for the asymmetry parameter. We note that the volume-normalized extinction coefficient can be separated into two parts: one is inversely proportional to effective size and is independent of wavelength, and the other is the wavelength-dependent effective extinction efficiency. Unlike conventional parameterization efforts, the present parameterization scheme is more accurate because only the latter part of the volume-normalized extinction coefficient is approximated in terms of an analytical expression. After averaging over size distribution, the single-scattering albedo is shown to decrease with an increase in effective size for wavelengths shorter than 10.0 m whereas the opposite behavior is observed for longer wavelengths. The variation of the asymmetry parameter as a function of effective size is substantial when the effective size is smaller than 50 m. For effective sizes larger than 100 m, the asymmetry parameter approaches its asymptotic value. The results derived in this study can be useful to remote sensing studies of ice clouds involving IR window bands. 2001 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Yang, P., Gao, B. C., Baum, B. A., Hu, Y. X., Wiscombe, W. J., Tsay, S. C., Winker, D. M., & Nasiri, S. L.

citation count

  • 78

complete list of authors

  • Yang, P||Gao, BC||Baum, BA||Hu, YX||Wiscombe, WJ||Tsay, SC||Winker, DM||Nasiri, SL

publication date

  • August 2001