Light scattering by hexagonal ice crystals with distributed inclusions

R. Lee Panetta, Jia Ning Zhang, Lei Bi, Ping Yang, Guanlin Tang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Inclusions of air bubbles or soot particles have significant effects on the single-scattering properties of ice crystals, effects that in turn have significant impacts on the radiation budget of an atmosphere containing the crystals. This study investigates some of the single-scattering effects in the case of hexagonal ice crystals, including effects on the backscattering depolarization ratio, a quantity of practical importance in the interpretation of lidar observations. One distinguishing feature of the study is an investigation of scattering properties at a visible wavelength for a crystal with size parameter (x) above 100, a size regime where one expects some agreement between exact methods and geometrical optics methods. This expectation is generally borne out in a test comparison of how the sensitivity of scattering properties to the distribution of a given volume fraction of included air is represented using (i) an approximate Monte Carlo Ray Tracing (MCRT) method and (ii) a numerically exact pseudo-spectral time-domain (PSTD) method. Another distinguishing feature of the study is a close examination, using the numerically exact Invariant-Imbedding T-Matrix (II-TM) method, of how some optical properties of importance to satellite remote sensing vary as the volume fraction of inclusions and size of crystal are varied. Although such an investigation of properties in the x>100 regime faces serious computational burdens that force a large number of idealizations and simplifications in the study, the results nevertheless provide an intriguing glimpse of what is evidently a quite complex sensitivity of optical scattering properties to inclusions of air or soot as volume fraction and size parameter are varied.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)336-349
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Quantitative Spectroscopy and Radiative Transfer
StatePublished - Jul 1 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Air bubble
  • Ice crystal
  • Scattering
  • Soot

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiation
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Spectroscopy


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