Review: Model particles in atmospheric optics
Magazine article, 2014

This review paper provides an overview over model geometries for computing light scattering by small particles. The emphasis is on atmospheric optics, although much of this review will also be relevant to neighbouring fields, in particular to astronomy. Various morphological particle properties are discussed, such as overall nonsphericity, pristine shapes, aggregation, and different forms of inhomogeneity, e.g. porous and compact inhomogeneous morphologies, as well as encapsulated aggregates. Models employed to reproduce the optical properties of complex particles range from strongly simplified to highly realistic and morphologically sophisticated model geometries. Besides reviewing the most recent literature, we discuss the idea behind models of varying degree of complexity with regard to the intended use of the models. Applications range from fundamental studies of light scattering processes to routine applications of particle optics look-up tables in operational modelling systems.

Ice clouds

Mineral dust

Black carbon




Cosmic dust


Michael Kahnert

Chalmers, Earth and Space Sciences, Global Environmental Measurements and Modelling

T. Nousiainen

Finnish Meteorological Institute (FMI)

H. Lindqvist

University of Helsinki

Journal of Quantitative Spectroscopy and Radiative Transfer

0022-4073 (ISSN)

Vol. 146 41-58

Subject Categories

Meteorology and Atmospheric Sciences



More information

Latest update