Abstract

The degree of polarization as well as the direction of the polarization are calculated by a Monte Carlo method for the reflected and transmitted photons from the earth’s atmosphere. The solar photons are followed through multiple collisions with the aerosols and the Rayleigh scattering centers in the atmosphere. The aerosol number density as well as the ratio of aerosol to Rayleigh scattering vary with height. The aerosol index of refraction is assumed to be 1.55. The proportion of aerosol to Rayleigh scattering is appropriately chosen at each wavelength (λ = 0.4 μ and 0.7 μ); ozone absorption is included where appropriate. Three different aerosol number densities are used to study the effects of aerosol variations. Results are given for a solar zenith angle of 81.37° and various surface albedos. The radiance and polarization of the reflected and transmitted photons is particularly sensitive to the amount of aerosols in the atmosphere at certain angles of observation. The direction of polarization shows little dependence on the surface albedo.

© 1972 Optical Society of America

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