Abstract

The optical properties of snowpacks composed of spherical and nonspherical particles artificially prepared in a cold laboratory are investigated by measuring spectral albedos. The measured spectral albedo in the spectral region λ=0.352.5μm is compared with the theoretically calculated albedo, for which a Monte Carlo radiative transfer model is employed for multiple scattering combined with the Mie theory and the ray-tracing technique for single scattering by snow particles. Since the spherical particles are a little aggregate, the effects of a cluster of the spheres on snow albedo are examined using a generalized multiparticle Mie-solution model [Appl. Opt. 34, 4573 (1995); J. Quant. Spectrosc. Radiat. Transf. 79–80, 1121 (2003)]. The snow albedo of a cluster of the spheres can be represented with that of the singe sphere slightly larger than its component of the cluster in case of small grains. The observed albedos for the spherical snow particles agree with the theoretically calculated ones for the snow grain size measured in the snow pit work. The snow albedos for the nonspherical particles, which were dendrites, are influenced by the branch width and the branch length, based on a comparison of the theoretically calculated albedo by using circular cylindrical snow particles and the observed albedo. The snow albedo in the near-infrared region depends on the branch width only when the branch length is sufficiently greater than the branch width. The comparison between the spherical and nonspherical snow particles indicates that the spectral albedo of the nonspherical particles can be represented by using an equal volume–area ratio sphere.

© 2006 Optical Society of America

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