Abstract

Smoke clouds from brush fires usually appear reddish or brownish when viewed from below in transmission, while a thin smoke cloud or part of a thick cloud near its periphery is noticeably bluish. Yet, when viewed from above in backscatter, the smoke appears bluish-white. We present observations of smoke clouds and explain their varied colors using a simple one-dimensional two-stream multiple scattering/absorbing radiative transfer approach for a model cloud whose particles are much smaller than the wavelength of visible light, the Rayleigh limit. The colors are purely the result of Rayleigh scattering and are not significantly influenced by the intrinsic color (wavelength-dependent albedo) of the particles.

© 2008 Optical Society of America

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