The definitive work on the properties of visible and near-visible light in the natural environment. Both intensity and complete state of polarization of the light, as they vary with direction of the sun, wavelength, atmospheric and surface conditions, and direction and view, are included. Relatively strong emphasis is placed on the state of polarization of the light, an area which has promise for extensive use in remote sensing of the environment. Heretofore, remote sensing systems have utilized mainly the light intensity to the exclusion of polarization, but both theory and observation show that the maximum amount of information to be extracted in a remote sensing context requires that both intensity and polarization be included in the observation. In fact, certain types of information (e.g., soil moisture, growth stage of agricultural crops, etc.) are carried by the polarization field but not the field of intensity. Thus the emphasis in this book on polarization of light in the atmosphere has considerable practical motivation, as well as taking advantage of the author’s longtime interest and experience over 30 years in studies of polarization of light in the atmosphere. Some observational material is presented here for the first time.
The book will be appropriate for use by advanced undergraduate and graduate students, and for professionals working in problems of radiative transfer and remote sensing. The last of these is likely to be of primary importance in the future as observation systems become sufficiently sophisticated to include polarization as an observable.
ISBN 0-937194-12-3, 1988, Hardcover, 620 pages