Optics of water cloud droplets mixed with black-carbon aerosols

Mishchenko, M., L. Liu, B. Cairns, and D. W. Mackowski (2014), Optics of water cloud droplets mixed with black-carbon aerosols, Opt. Lett., 39, 2607-2610.

We use the recently extended superposition T-matrix method to calculate scattering and absorption properties of micrometer-sized water droplets contaminated by black carbon. Our numerically exact results reveal that, depending on the mode of soot–water mixing, the soot specific absorption can vary by a factor exceeding 6.5. The specific absorption is maximized when the soot material is quasi-uniformly distributed throughout the droplet interior in the form of numerous small monomers. The range of mixing scenarios captured by our computations implies a wide range of remote sensing and radiation budget implications of the presence of black carbon in liquid-water clouds. We show that the popular Maxwell-Garnett effective-medium approximation can be used to calculate the optical cross sections, single-scattering albedo, and asymmetry parameter for the quasi-uniform mixing scenario, but is likely to fail in application to other mixing scenarios and in computations of the elements of the scattering matrix.

Research Program: 
Radiation Science Program (RSP)