Articles | Volume 15, issue 20
Research article
28 Oct 2015
Research article |  | 28 Oct 2015

Effects of dust particle internal structure on light scattering

O. Kemppinen, T. Nousiainen, and G. Y. Jeong

Abstract. There is a large variety of internal structures inside atmospheric dust particles, making them inherently inhomogeneous. Such structures may have a large effect on ground-level and atmospheric radiation. So far, dust particle internal structures and their effect on the light scattering properties have proved to be hard to quantify, in part due to challenges in obtaining information about these structures. Recently, internal structures of individual dust particles were revealed through focused ion beam milling and analyzed. Here, we perform a sensitivity study to evaluate the optical impacts of some of the typical internal structures revealed. To obtain suitable model particles, the first step is to generate inhomogeneous particles with varying internal structures by using an algorithm that is based on three-dimensional Voronoi tessellation. The parameters for the particle generation are obtained from studies of real-world Asian dust particles. The second step is to generate homogeneous versions of the generated particles by using an effective-medium approximation, for comparison. Third, light scattering by both versions of these particles is simulated with discrete dipole approximation code. This allows us to see how different internal structures affect light scattering, and how important it is to account for these structures explicitly. Further, this allows us to estimate the potential inaccuracies caused by using only homogeneous model particles for atmospheric studies and remote-sensing measurements. The results show that the effects vary greatly between different kinds of internal structures and single-scattering quantity considered, but for most structure types the effects are overall notable. Most significantly, hematite inclusions in particles impact light scattering heavily. Furthermore, internal pores and hematite-rich coating both affect some form of light scattering noticeably. Based on this work, it seems that it is exceedingly important that the effects of dust particle internal structures on light scattering are accounted for in a wide variety of applications.

Short summary
Internal structures are common in atmospheric dust particles, yet their effects on light scattering are largely unstudied. In this work, we study how hematite nodes, internal voids and hematite-rich coating impact single-scattering properties of computationally generated irregular model particles. The results show that all of these features change scattering properties significantly, and that a simple effective-medium approximation is not enough to replicate the scattering properties.
Final-revised paper