Particle absorption and scattering

Aerosols and cloud droplets scatter radiation in different directions, coherently in frequency, and absorb radiation, depending on their shape, chemical composition, and size. In the case of simple spherical and homogenous scatterers, Mie theory provides a complete solution to the problem (Mie 1908, Debye 1909) for light scattering by small particles. Analytical forms are provided for the total extinction cross-section, aext (cm-2), the scattering cross-section, ascat and through energy conservation, the absorption cross-section, aabs, where

and also the scattering phase function, p(cos 9), where 0 is the angle between the incoming and outgoing radiation, as discussed in Chapter 3. From the phase function we can also derive the asymmetry factor g, defined by eqn (3.58). Knowing the cross-sections we can compute the corresponding optical depths, the single z

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