Imaging polarimetry of the fogbow: polarization characteristics of white rainbows measured in the high Arctic

Horváth, Gábor
Hegedüs, Ramon
Barta, András
Farkas, Alexandra
Åkesson, Susanne
The knowledge on the optics of fogbows is scarce, and their polarization characteristics have never been measured to our knowledge. To fill this gap we measured the polarization features of 16 fogbows during the Beringia 2005 Arctic polar research expedition by imaging polarimetry in the red, green and blue spectral ranges. We present here the first polarization patterns of the fogbow. In the patterns of the degree of linear polarization p, fogbows and their supernumerary bows are best visible in the red spectral range due to the least dilution of fogbow light by light scattered in air. In the patterns of the angle of polarization α fogbows are practically not discernible because their α-pattern is the same as that of the sky: the direction of polarization is perpendicular to the plane of scattering and is parallel to the arc of the bow, independently of the wavelength. Fogbows and their supernumeraries were best seen in the patterns of the polarized radiance. In these patterns the angular distance δ between the peaks of the primary and the first supernumerary and the angular width σ of the primary bow were determined along different radii from the center of the bow. δ ranged between 6.08° and 13.41° , while σ changed from 5.25° to 19.47° . Certain fogbows were relatively homogeneous, meaning small variations of δ and σ along their bows. Other fogbows were heterogeneous, possessing quite variable δ- and σ-values along their bows. This variability could be a consequence of the characteristics of the high Arctic with open waters within the ice shield resulting in the spatiotemporal change of the droplet size within the fog ​
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