Articles | Volume 2, issue 1
22 Apr 2009
 | 22 Apr 2009

Three-dimensional simulation of the Ring effect in observations of scattered sun light using Monte Carlo radiative transfer models

T. Wagner, S. Beirle, and T. Deutschmann

Abstract. We present a new technique for the quantitative simulation of the "Ring effect" for scattered light observations from various platforms and under different atmospheric situations. The method is based on radiative transfer calculations at only one wavelength λ0 in the wavelength range under consideration, and is thus computationally fast. The strength of the Ring effect is calculated from statistical properties of the photon paths for a given situation, which makes Monte Carlo radiative transfer models in particular appropriate. We quantify the Ring effect by the so called rotational Raman scattering probability, the probability that an observed photon has undergone a rotational Raman scattering event. The Raman scattering probability is independent from the spectral resolution of the instrument and can easily be converted into various definitions used to characterise the strength of the Ring effect. We compare the results of our method to the results of previous studies and in general good quantitative agreement is found. In addition to the simulation of the Ring effect, we developed a detailed retrieval strategy for the analysis of the Ring effect based on DOAS retrievals, which allows the precise determination of the strength of the Ring effect for a specific wavelength while using the spectral information within a larger spectral interval around the selected wavelength. Using our technique, we simulated synthetic satellite observation of an atmospheric scenario with a finite cloud illuminated from different sun positions. The strength of the Ring effect depends systematically on the measurement geometry, and is strongest if the satellite points to the side of the cloud which lies in the shadow of the sun.