A discrete spherical harmonics method for radiative transfer analysis in inhomogeneous polarized planar atmosphere

  • Romuald Tapimo
  • Hervé Thierry Tagne Kamdem
  • David Yemele
Original Article


A discrete spherical harmonics method is developed for the radiative transfer problem in inhomogeneous polarized planar atmosphere illuminated at the top by a collimated sunlight while the bottom reflects the radiation. The method expands both the Stokes vector and the phase matrix in a finite series of generalized spherical functions and the resulting vector radiative transfer equation is expressed in a set of polar directions. Hence, the polarized characteristics of the radiance within the atmosphere at any polar direction and azimuthal angle can be determined without linearization and/or interpolations. The spatial dependent of the problem is solved using the spectral Chebyshev method. The emergent and transmitted radiative intensity and the degree of polarization are predicted for both Rayleigh and Mie scattering. The discrete spherical harmonics method predictions for optical thin atmosphere using 36 streams are found in good agreement with benchmark literature results. The maximum deviation between the proposed method and literature results and for polar directions \(\vert \mu \vert \geq0.1 \) is less than 0.5% and 0.9% for the Rayleigh and Mie scattering, respectively. These deviations for directions close to zero are about 3% and 10% for Rayleigh and Mie scattering, respectively.


Discrete ordinates Inhomogeneous atmosphere Radiative transfer Rayleigh and Mie scattering Polarized atmosphere Spherical harmonics 


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratory of Mechanics & Modeling of Physics Systems, Department of Physics/Faculty of ScienceUniversity of Dschang, CameroonDschangCameroon

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