Abstract

Snow is a scattering-dominated medium whose scattering is independent of wavelength at 350600  nm. The attenuation of solar radiation in snow can be used to infer the spectral absorption coefficient of pure ice, by reference to a known value at 600  nm. The method is applied to clean Antarctic snow; the absorption minimum is at 390  nm, and the inferred absorption coefficient is lower than even the lowest values of the Antarctic Muon and Neutrino Detector Array (AMANDA) experiment on glacier ice: The absorption length is at least 700  m, by comparison with 240  m for AMANDA and 10  m from laboratory attenuation measurements.

© 2006 Optical Society of America

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