An Improved Small-Angle Approximation for Forward Scattering and Its Use in a Fast Two-Component Radiative Transfer Method Academic Article uri icon


  • © 2017 American Meteorological Society. The vector radiative transfer equation is decomposed into two components: a forward component and a diffuse component. The forward component is analytically solved with a small-angle approximation. The solution of the forward component becomes the source for the diffuse component. In the present study, the diffuse component is solved using the successive order of scattering method. The strong anisotropy of the scattering of radiation by a medium is confined to the forward component for which a semianalytical solution is given; consequently, the diffuse component slowly varies as a function of scattering angle once the forward-scattering peak is removed. Moreover, the effect on the diffuse component induced by the forward component can be interpreted by including the low orders of the generalized spherical function expansion of the forward component or even replaced by the Dirac delta function. As a result, the computational effort can be significantly reduced. The present two-component method is validated using the benchmarks related to predefined aerosol and cloud layers with a totally absorbing underlying surface. As a canonical application, the optical properties of water clouds and ice clouds used for the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) Collection 6 cloud-property retrieval products are used for radiative transfer simulations under cloudy conditions.

altmetric score

  • 0.75

author list (cited authors)

  • Sun, B., Kattawar, G. W., Yang, P., & Mlawer, E.

citation count

  • 7

publication date

  • May 2017