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Proceedings Paper

Effects of wildfire smoke on atmospheric polarization
Author(s): Joseph A. Shaw; Nathan J. Pust; Elizabeth Forbes
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Paper Abstract

A continuously operating all-sky polarization imager recorded the skylight polarization pattern as conditions transitioned from clear and clean to extremely smoky. This transition included a period when a local wildfire plume filled part of the sky with smoke, creating a highly asymmetric distribution of aerosols. Multiple scattering in the smoke plume strongly reduced the degree of polarization in the smoky region of the sky. Once the smoke plume spread out to cover the entire local sky, the degree of polarization was strongly reduced everywhere. However, this example differed from previously observed smoke events because, even though the usual skylight polarization pattern generally persisted throughout the event, this time the smoke-covered sky exhibited a spatially asymmetric profile along the band of maximum polarization. This pattern of reduced polarization toward the horizon is hypothesized to be a result of an optically thick but physically thin smoke layer. The skylight polarization observations are supplemented with optical depth measurements and aerosol size distribution retrievals from a solar radiometer.

Paper Details

Date Published: 12 June 2014
PDF: 10 pages
Proc. SPIE 9099, Polarization: Measurement, Analysis, and Remote Sensing XI, 909907 (12 June 2014); doi: 10.1117/12.2045603
Show Author Affiliations
Joseph A. Shaw, Montana State Univ. (United States)
Nathan J. Pust, Montana State Univ. (United States)
Elizabeth Forbes, Montana State Univ. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 9099:
Polarization: Measurement, Analysis, and Remote Sensing XI
David B. Chenault; Dennis H. Goldstein, Editor(s)

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