Overview of radiative transfer models for remote sensing

This table gives an overview of the reviewed radiative transfer models. It is beyond the scope of the study to provide a complete list of radiative transfer codes developed since the 1950s. The list should include the codes that are currently used in the remote sensing community. The models are sorted into various categories to structure this table a little bit. The sorting is for several models ambiguous, since they would belong in more than one category. Details about the models and references are given in WP1100 report.

Input databases for radiative transfer models

Acronyms and abbreviations

Comprehensive radiative transfer packages

model name spectral range spectral calculation model geometry atmos. surface Jac. pol. ref. Ram. avail. specials
libRadtran RT solvers UV/VIS/IR correlated-k 1D pp or sp / 3D pp m,r,c,a Lambert/ BRDF/ spectral albedo - yes - - GPL modular, 10 RT solvers may be selected depending on application
SCIATRAN UV/VIS/NIR correlated-k 1D pp, psp or sp m,r,c,a Lambert/ BRDF/ spectral albedo yes - yes yes SU mainly used for SCIAMACHY retrievals
AER UV, VIS, IR, microwave line-by-line, correlated-k 1D pp m,r,c,a Lambert - - - - PD well validated, widely used, simple fast parameterization for treatment of scattering
ARTS microwave, sub-mm line-by-line 1D/3D sp m,c Lambert/ Fresnel yes yes yes - GPL so far mostly applied and validated for microwave region
ECSim UV/VIS/IR/ microwave ? 1D/3D m,c,a,r BRDF - yes - - PD Monte Carlo; Lidar /w doppler shift; Radar
SHDOM UV/VIS/IR/ microwave correlated-k 1D/2D/3D pp m,r,c,a Lambert/ BRDF - - - - PD 3D radiative transfer model not based on Monte Carlo
SBDART VIS/IR correlated-k/ band model 1D pp m,r,c,a Lambert/ spectral albedo - - - - PD spectral surface reflectivity models
STREAMER UV/VIS/IR correlated-k 1D-pp m,r,a,c Lambert/ BRDF/ spectral albedo - - - - PD web interface
MODTRAN UV/VIS/IR correlated-k (15cm-1), band model (2 cm-1) 1D-pp / spherical m,r,c,a Lambert/ BRDF - - yes - L ~$300 widely-used; non-disclosure agreement to be signed before use

Radiative transfer solvers

Discrete ordinate methods
model name spectral range spectral calculation model geometry atmos. surface Jac. pol. ref. Ram. avail. specials
DISORT UV/VIS/IR/ microwave monochr. 1D pp m,r,c,a Lambert/ BRDF - - - - PD very well validated, very efficient
VDISORT UV/VIS/IR/ microwave monochr. 1D pp m,r,c,a Lambert/ BRDF - yes - - AOR vector version of DISORT, but not widely used
COART UV/VIS/IR band model 1D pp m,r,c,a ocean included as model layer - - - - NA ocean-atmosphere coupling, online version available
SHARM (-3D) UV/VIS/NIR monochr. 1D/3D pp m,r,a 2D-BRDF - - - - PD efficient treatment of 2D surface (BRDF) with 1D atmosphere above
Matrix operator methods
model name spectral range spectral calculation model geometry atmos. surface Jac. pol. ref. Ram. avail. specials
MOM UV/VIS/IR exponential sum fitting 1D pp m,r,c,a Lambert/ BRDF - - - - AOR Code available at DLR
RTMOM UV/VIS/IR correlated-k 1D pp m,r,c,a Lambert/ BRDF - - - - PD Fortran 90
MOMO UV/VIS/NIR monochr. 1D pp m,r,c,a Cox&Munk, ocean incl. as model layer - (yes) - yes NA ocean-atmosphere coupling, chlorophyll fluorescence
STAR UV/VIS optimized wavelength grid 1D pp m,r,c,a Lambert, spectral albedo - - - - SU computation of erythemal dose and daily dose
Monte Carlo methods
model name spectral range spectral calculation model geometry atmos. surface Jac. pol. ref. Ram. avail. specials
MYSTIC UV/VIS/IR monochr./ correlated-k 3D pp, 1D pp or sp m,r,c,a Lambert/ BRDF/ topography - - - - NA integrated in libradtran
MCARaTS UV/VIS/IR monochr. 3D pp m,r,c,a Lambert/ BRDF/ topography - - - - PD camera-like images as output
GRIMALDI UNIK UV/VIS monochr./ broadband (effective abs. coeff.) 3D pp m,r,c,a Lambert - - - - SU no further development
I3RC community model UV/VIS/IR monochr. (?) 3D pp m,r,c,a Lambert/ BRDF - - - - SU Monte Carlo community model
MCC++ UV/VIS monochr. 1D sp m,r,a Lambert yes yes - - NA Monte Carlo code that computes Jacobians for Stokes vector
Doubling and adding methods
model name spectral range spectral calculation model geometry atmos. surface Jac. pol. ref. Ram. avail. specials
polradtran UV/VIS/IR/ microwave monochr. 1D pp m,r,c,a Lambert/ Fresnel - yes - - PD doubling-and-adding method to solve RTE
DAK UV/VIS/NIR monochr. 1D pp m,r,c,a Lambert - yes - - NA no detailed description in the literature
Successive orders of scattering methods
model name spectral range spectral calculation model geometry atmos. surface Jac. pol. ref. Ram. avail. specials
LOA UV/VIS monochr. 1D-pp m,r,a Lambert/ BRDF - yes - - AOR several versions for different applications

Line-by-line models

model name spectral range spectral calculation model geometry atmos. surface Jac. pol. ref. Ram. avail. specials
RFM IR line-by-line based on GENLN2 1D sp or pp m Lambert yes - ? - SU no scattering, mainly used for MIPAS
4A IR 600-3000cm-1 ATLAS line-by-line database, based on GEISA 1D sp m blackbody yes - - - SU high spectral resolution, no scattering
KOPRA mid-IR line-by-line 1D sp m,a,c Lambert yes - yes - NA mainly used for MIPAS retrievals, single scattering approx.
MIRART microwave/ IR line-by-line 1D sp m Lambert yes - yes - NA user friendly Python interface tools
genln-2 IR/ microwave line-by-line 1D pp or sp m Lambert - - yes - AOR no further development
LINEPAK IR/ microwave line-by-line 1D sp m blackbody - - yes - L version with limited functionality available online: spectralcalc

Fast radiative transfer models

model name spectral range spectral calculation model geometry atmos. surface Jac. pol. ref. Ram. avail. specials
RTTOV internal description IR/ microwave using coefficients based on line-by-line 1D pp m,c,a Lambert yes - - - SU very fast RT by channel precalculation; widely used in variat. assimil., simple parameterisation to handle scattering
6S UV/VIS/NIR lookup-table 1D pp m,r,a Lambert/ BRDF - yes - - PD surface environment
 
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