Polarimetric sensitivity of light-absorbing carbonaceous aerosols over ocean: A theoretical assessment
WashU affiliated authors: Chenchong Zhang, Rajan K. Chakrabarty (Center for Aerosol Science and Engineering)
Abstract: Visible-light-absorbing carbonaceous aerosols within the boundary layer affect the radiance and polarization states of the radiation at the top of the atmosphere. Remote sensing from suborbital and satellite-based platforms utilizes these radiance and polarization signals to retrieve the key properties of these aerosols. Recent retrieval algorithms have shown a progressive trend toward including multi-angular and multi-spectral polarimetric measurements to produce better retrieval accuracy in comparison to those using measurements based on a single viewing angle. Here, we perform a theoretical investigation of the top of atmosphere (TOA) radiance-related reflectance factor (bidirectional reflectance factor (BRF)) and the two types of polarimetry-related factors (polarized bidirectional reflectance factor (pBRF) and the degree of linear polarization (DoLP)) for different types of atmospheric light-absorbing carbonaceous aerosols as a function of particle size distribution. We selected three polarimetric bands corresponding to those utilized by NASA’s Airborne Multiangle SpectroPolarimetric Imager (AirMSPI)—near-UV (470 nm), visible (660 nm), and near-infrared (865 nm)—for our simulations which were performed over ocean surface using the successive order of scattering (SOS) algorithm coupled to a Lorenz-Mie aerosol optics model. The analysis of particle phase matrix elements indicates a close relationship between the angular dependencies of DoLP and associated phase matrix components at the shortest polarimetric band (470 nm). Using Jacobian analysis, we find that the radiance- and polarimetry-related reflectance factors of weakly light-absorbing aerosols, such as brown carbon, are more sensitive to changes in particle size and imaginary refractive index in comparison with those of black carbon, which is strongly light-absorbing. Our results suggest that the DoLP data could be used by future retrieval algorithms for reliably estimating microphysical properties of absorbing carbonaceous aerosols with imaginary refractive index less than 0.4.