A comprehensive analytical radiative transfer model for isothermal aerosols and vapors for passive infrared remote sensing applications (ground-based and airborne sensors) has been developed. The theoretical model illustrates the qualitative difference between an aerosol cloud and a chemical vapor cloud. The model is based on two and two∕four stream approximations and includes thermal emission–absorption by the aerosols; scattering of diffused sky radiances incident from all sides on the aerosols (downwelling, upwelling, left, and right); and scattering of aerosol thermal emission. The model uses moderate resolution transmittance ambient atmospheric radiances as boundary conditions and provides analytical expressions for the information on the aerosol cloud that is contained in remote sensing measurements by using thermal contrasts between the aerosols and diffused sky radiances. Simulated measurements of a ground-based sensor viewing Bacillus subtilis var. niger bioaerosols and kaolin aerosols are given and discussed to illustrate the differences between a vapor-only model (i.e., only emission–absorption effects) and a complete model that adds aerosol scattering effects.
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