World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Optical properties of water and ice

Article Id: WHEBN0010586673
Reproduction Date:

Title: Optical properties of water and ice  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Refractive index, Speed of light, Mie scattering, Atmospheric radiative transfer codes
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Optical properties of water and ice

Main article: Properties of water

The refractive index of water at 20°C is 1.332986. The refractive index of normal ice is 1.31. (From List of refractive indices.) In general, an index of refraction is a complex number with both a real and imaginary part, where the latter indicates the strength of absorption loss at a particular wavelength. In the visible part of electromagnetic spectrum the imaginary part of the refractive index is very small. However, water and ice absorb in infrared and close the atmospheric window thereby contributing to the greenhouse effect

The absorption spectrum of pure water is used in numerous applications, including light scattering and absorption by ice crystals and cloud water droplets, theories of the rainbow, determination of the single scattering albedo, ocean color, and many others.

Quantitative description of the refraction index

The real part of the index of refraction is described by the following expression: [1]

\frac{n^{2}-1}{n^{2}+2}(1/\overline{\rho })=a_{0}+a_{1}\overline{\rho}+a_{2}\overline{T}+a_{3}{\overline{\lambda}}^{2}\overline{T}+\frac{a_{4}}^{2}}+\frac{a_{5}}^{2}-{\overline{\lambda}}_{\mathit{UV}}^{2}}+\frac{a_{6}}^{2}-{\overline{\lambda }}_{\mathit{IR}}^{2}}+a_{7}{\overline{\rho}}^{2}


\overline T = \frac{T}{T^{\text{*}}}
\overline \rho = \frac{\rho}{\rho^{\text{*}}}
\overline \lambda = \frac{\lambda}{\lambda^{\text{*}}}
T^{\text{*}}= 273.15 K \rho^{\text{*}}= 1000 kg/m3
\lambda^{\text{*}} = 589 nm

And T is the absolute temperature of water (in K), \lambda is the wavelength, \rho is the density of the water and n is the index of refraction.

See also



  • R. M. Pope and E. S. Fry, Absorption spectrum (380-700 nm) of pure water. II. Integrating cavity measurements, Appl. Opt., 36, 8710-8723, 1997.
  • Mobley, Curtis D., Light and water : radiative transfer in natural waters; based in part on collaborations with Rudolph W. Preisendorfer, San Diego, Academic Press, 1994, 592 p., ISBN 0-12-502750-8
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.