Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Applied Physics (MS)

Administrative Home Department

Department of Physics

Advisor 1

Raymond Shaw

Advisor 2

Claudio Mazzoleni

Committee Member 1

Will Cantrell


Remote sensing techniques used for measurement of atmospheric cloud properties operate under the notion that light extinction caused by scattering and absorption is exponential due to Beer-Lambert law. This is expected to be valid for a uni-form medium with no spatial correlations between particle position. The aim of this research was to show that under turbulent conditions, cloud droplets cannot be interpreted as non-correlated, and in turn will exhibit a lower than exponential light decay from scattering. The research took place at the MTU π-Chamber laboratory. A temperature difference between the floor and ceiling of the chamber was applied to create convection-driven turbulence. When turbulent cloud conditions were achieved, it’s optical depth properties was analyzed. This was done by deriving the optical depth by computational means through the acquisition of its droplet size distribution, and processing it through Mie scattering theory, while simultaneously acquiring direct measurement of optical depth using a Laser-Hygrometer. Results showed that there is a trend where larger temperature differences inside the chamber caused the direct extinction of light to deviate more strongly from the computed extinction. This less then exponential extinction parameter allows us to understand the significant effect that a turbulent cloud cover has on radar and satellite signals.