We calculated the scattering and absorption properties of randomly oriented hexagonal ice columns using T-matrix theory, employing analytic orientation averaging, and the finite-difference time-domain method, which uses a numerical procedure to simulate random orientation. The total optical properties calculated are the extinction efficiency, absorption efficiency, single-scattering albedo, and the asymmetry parameter. The optical properties are calculated at the wavelengths of 0.66, 8.5, and 12 µm, up to a size parameter of 20 at 0.66 µm and 15 at the two other wavelengths. The phase-matrix elements P11, P12, and P22 are also calculated and compared, up to a size parameter of 20 at 0.66 µm and 15 at 12.0 µm. The scattering and absorption solutions obtained from the two independent electromagnetic methods are compared and contrasted, as well as the central processing unit time and memory load for each size parameter. It is found that the total optical properties calculated by the two methods are well within 3% of each other for all three wavelengths and size parameters. In terms of the phase-matrix elements it is found that there are some differences between the T-matrix and the finite-difference time-domain methods appearing in all three elements. Differences between the two methods for the P11 element are seen particularly at scattering angles from approximately 120° to 180°; and at the scattering angle of 180°, relative differences are less than 16%. At scattering angles less than 100°, agreement is generally within a few percent. Similar results are also found for the P12 and P22 elements of the phase matrix. The validity of approximating randomly oriented hexagonal ice columns by randomly oriented equal surface area circular cylinders is also investigated in terms of the linear depolarization ratio.
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