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Rainbow Fourier transform

Alexandrov, M. D., B. Cairns, and M. Mishchenko (2012), Rainbow Fourier transform, J. Quant. Spectrosc. Radiat. Transfer, 113, 2521-2535, doi:10.1016/j.jqsrt.2012.03.025.

We present a novel technique for remote sensing of cloud droplet size distributions. Polarized reflectances in the scattering angle range between 1351 and 1651 exhibit a sharply defined rainbow structure, the shape of which is determined mostly by single scattering properties of cloud particles, and therefore, can be modeled using the Mie theory. Fitting the observed rainbow with such a model (computed for a parameterized family of particle size distributions) has been used for cloud droplet size retrievals. We discovered that the relationship between the rainbow structures and the corresponding particle size distributions is deeper than it had been commonly understood. In fact, the Mie theory-derived polarized reflectance as a function of reduced scattering angle (in the rainbow angular range) and the (monodisperse) particle radius appears to be a proxy to a kernel of an integral transform (similar to the sine Fourier transform on the positive semi-axis). This approach, called the rainbow Fourier transform (RFT), allows us to accurately retrieve the shape of the droplet size distribution by the application of the corresponding inverse transform to the observed polarized rainbow. While the basis functions of the proxy-transform are not exactly orthogonal in the finite angular range, this procedure needs to be complemented by a simple regression technique, which removes the retrieval artifacts. This non-parametric approach does not require any a priori knowledge of the droplet size distribution functional shape and is computationally fast (no look-up tables, no fitting, computations are the same as for the forward modeling).

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Research Program: 
Radiation Science Program (RSP)