This equilibrium is very sensitive to the different types of natural and anthropogenic atmospheric emissions. After the beginning of the era of satellite missions, several studies identified the stratosphere, the atmospheric region extending from about 10 to 50 km, as a key player for short-term climate impact. For this reason, a correct parameterization of the optical and microphysical properties of the stratospheric aerosol emissions, such as those from volcanic eruptions, also will help global climate models to reduce their uncertainty in forecasting future scenarios. In their innovative study, Mishchenko and his coauthors theoretically show that it is possible to constantly monitor, making some assumptions, the geometrical and optical properties of the aerosols emitted in the stratosphere with great precision, through photometric (light intensity), polarimetric (light polarization), and photopolarimetric measurements.
Bottom line: this research highlights that, considering a satellite configuration combining photometric and polarimetric measurements as defined for the NASA Glory mission—i.e., a multi-angle (nine scans) orbital photopolarimeter with a 1.378-μm channel—yields highly accurate measurements of stratospheric aerosol optical thickness, size distribution, and refractive index also useful for geoengineering purposes to counteract global warming.
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