Accurate radiative transfer calculations in cloudy atmospheres are generally time consuming, limiting their practical use in satellite remote sensing applications. We present a model to efficiently calculate the radiative transfer of polarized light in atmospheres that contain homogeneous cloud layers. This model combines the Gauss–Seidel method, which is efficient for inhomogeneous cloudless atmospheres, with the doubling method, which is efficient for homogeneous cloud layers. Additionally to reduce the computational effort for radiative transfer calculations in absorption bands, the cloud reflection and transmission matrices are interpolated over the absorption and scattering optical thicknesses within the cloud layer. We demonstrate that the proposed radiative transfer model in combination with this interpolation technique is efficient for the simulation of satellite measurements for inhomogeneous atmospheres containing one homogeneous cloud layer. For example, the Scanning Imaging Absorption Spectrometer for Atmospheric Cartography (SCIAMACHY) measurements in the oxygen A band and the Hartley–Huggins ozone band with a spectral resolution of can be simulated for these atmospheres within 1 min on a PC with an accuracy better than .
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