Polarization of Thermal Microwave Atmospheric Radiation Due to Scattering by Ice Particles in Clouds.
The polarization difference Tb between the vertical and horizontal components of thermal radiation emitted by clouds was studied using 37- and 85-GHz radiometers. The measurements were conducted during the Alliance Icing Research Project in Ottawa, Canada, during the winter of 1999/2000. Polarization differences (Tb) greater than 0.1 K were observed in approximately 30% of the cloudy periods. Characteristic values of the polarization difference at 85 GHz were about 2 K with a maximum value of about 4.5 K. Polarization difference at 37 GHz usually did not exceed 2.5 K and was typically 2-6 times less than that at 85 GHz. Both positive and negative polarization differences were observed. It is suggested that the microwave polarization results from scattering of atmospheric thermal radiation by cloud ice particles. The observations were interpreted with a model of radiative transfer in mixed-phase clouds. The characteristic polarization difference observed during ground-based measurements was found to agree with predictions of the radiative transfer model for typical values of cloud liquid and ice water content.