Modelling of light scattering by cirrus ice crystals using geometric optics combined with diffraction of facets
A new 3D model of light scattering applicable to dielectric faceted objects is presented. The model combines Geometric Optics with diffraction on individual facets yet maintains the low computational expense of standard Geometric Optics. The current implementation of the model is explained and then applied to the problem of light scattering by ice crystals in cirrus clouds. Accurate modelling of the scattering properties of such crystals is crucial to better understanding of cirrus radiative properties and hence to climate modelling and weather forecasting. Calculations using the new model are compared to a separation of variables method and the Improved Geometric Optics method with encouraging results. The model shows significant improvements over standard Geometric Optics. The size applicability of the new model is discussed. The model is applied to a range of crystal geometries that have been observed in cirrus including the hexagonal column, the hollow column, the droxtal and the bullet rosette. For each geometry the phase function and degree of linear polarization are presented and discussed. Ice analogue crystals grown at the University of Hertfordshire have optical properties very close to ice but are stable at room temperature. The geometries of three ice analogue crystals are reconstructed and the single scattering properties of the reconstructions are presented. 2D scattering patterns calculated using the model are compared to laboratory photographs of scattering patterns on a screen created by an ice analogue hexagonal column. The agreement is shown to be very good. By applying the model to a range of geometries, it is shown that the results in the form of 2D scattering patterns can potentially be used to aid particle characterization. By combining the model with a Monte Carlo radiative transfer code, comparisons are made with aircraft radiance measurements of cirrus provided by the Met Office. The improvements over standard Geometric Optics are found to persist following a radiative transfer treatment.