Abstract

A method is presented for in-flight validation of space-based polarization measurements based on approximation of the direction of polarization of scattered sunlight by the Rayleigh single-scattering value. This approximation is verified by simulations of radiative transfer calculations for various atmospheric conditions. The simulations show locations along an orbit where the scattering geometries are such that the intensities of the parallel and orthogonal polarization components of the light are equal, regardless of the observed atmosphere and surface. The method can be applied to any space-based instrument that measures the polarization of reflected solar light. We successfully applied the method to validate the Global Ozone Monitoring Experiment (GOME) polarization measurements. The error in the GOME’s three broadband polarization measurements appears to be ∼1%.

© 2003 Optical Society of America

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