At first glance, an examination of the bulk refractive indices for the 8–12 μm waveband of various bioaerosols suggests differentiation with respect to common background aerosols based upon the spectral characteristics of the absorption. The question of whether there is a spectral signature of bioaerosol clouds when those clouds are immersed in a typical atmosphere, including the boundary layer background aerosols, has been addressed in a simulation using the Weather and Atmospheric Visualization Effects for Simulation (WAVES) suite of codes. Using measured values of the refractive index for common bacterial spores, and their typical size distributions, the single-scattering, ensemble-averaged optical properties such as extinction/absorption coefficients, albedo, and the scattering phase function was computed for bioaerosol clouds at a resolution of 1 cm-1. WAVES was then used to calculate the radiative transfer for a finite sized cloud immersed in background. Results of this simulation indicate that, for a passive remote sensing measurement, it is unlikely that bioaerosol clouds can be identified from the spectral signature alone.
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