• aerosol;
  • light scattering;
  • mineral dust;
  • remote sensing;
  • T-matrix method

[1] Optical properties, including infrared (IR) extinction and visible light scattering of mineral dust aerosol, are measured experimentally and compared to modeling results using T-matrix theory. The work includes studies of complex, authentic field samples of Saharan sand, Iowa loess, and Arizona road dust (ARD). Particle size distributions and aerosol optical properties are measured simultaneously. These authentic dust samples are treated as external mixtures of mineral components. The mineral compositions for the Saharan sand and Iowa loess samples have been reported by Laskina et al. [2012], and the mineralogy for ARD is derived here using a similar method. T-matrix-based simulations, using measured particle size distributions and a priori particle shape models, are carried out for each mineral component of the authentic samples. The simulated optical properties for the complex dust mixtures are obtained by a weighted average of the properties of the mineral components, based on a given sample mineralogy. T-matrix simulations are then directly compared with the measured IR extinction spectra and visible light scattering phase function and linear polarization profiles for each sample. Generally good agreement between experiment and theory is obtained. Model simulations that account for differences in particle shape with mineralogy and include a broad range of eccentric spheroid shape parameters offer a significant improvement over more commonly applied models that ignore variations in particle shape with size or mineralogy and include only a moderate range of shape parameters.