Mass extinction coefficients of soil-derived atmospheric dusts often are determined largely by the absorption (rather than scattering) by individual particles, especially at longer IR wavelengths. Under many conditions, reasonable estimates of mass extinction coefficients of dusts can be made from absorption coefficients without the need for detailed knowledge of particle optical constants to perform, e.g., Mie calculations. This paper discusses absorption coefficients of dusts in the visible and IR wavelengths and the physical mechanisms of dust aerosol generation determining that portion of extinction attributable to absorption in a given dust cloud. Some soils, especially clays, can produce dust clouds that are almost pure absorbers at longer IR wavelengths.
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