Abstract

We present a retrieval scheme that can be used to derive the aerosol phase function and single-scattering albedo from the sky radiance over land. The retrieval algorithm iteratively corrects the aerosol volume scattering function, the product of the single-scattering albedo and the phase function, based on the difference between the measured sky radiance and the radiance calculated by solving the radiative transfer equation. It is tested first under ideal conditions, i.e., the approximations made in the retrieval algorithm totally agree with actual conditions assumed in creating the pseudodata for sky radiance. It is then tested under more realistic conditions to assess its susceptibility to measurement errors and effects of conditions not recognized in the retrieval algorithm, e.g., surface horizontal inhomogeneity, departures of the surface from Lambertian, and aerosol horizontal inhomogeneity. These simulations show that, in most cases, this scheme can retrieve the aerosol single-scattering albedo with high accuracy (within 1%) and can therefore be used to identify strongly absorbing aerosols. It can also produce meaningful retrievals of most aerosol phase functions: less than 5% error at 865 nm and less than 10% at 443 nm in most cases. Typically, the error in the volume scattering function is small for scattering angles ≲90°, then increases for larger angles. Disappointing results in both the single-scattering albedo and the scattering phase function occur at 443 nm, either when there are large calibration errors in the radiometer used to measure the sky radiance or when the land reflection properties are significantly inhomogeneous.

© 1998 Optical Society of America

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