Sensitivity of liquid cloud optical thickness and effective radius retrievals to cloud bow and glory conditions using two SEVIRI imagers

Benas, Nikos; Meirink, Jan Fokke; Stengel, Martin; Stammes, Piet

Retrievals of cloud properties from geostationary satellite sensors offer extensive spatial and temporal coverage and resolution. The high temporal resolution allows the observation of diurnally resolved cloud properties. However, retrievals are sensitive to varying illumination and viewing geometries, including cloud glory and cloud bow conditions, which can lead to irregularities in the diurnal data record. In this study, these conditions and their effects on liquid cloud optical thickness and effective radius retrievals are analyzed using the Cloud Physical Properties (CPP) algorithm. This analysis is based on the use of Spinning Enhanced Visible and Infrared Imager (SEVIRI) reflectances and products from Meteosat-8 and Meteosat-10, which are located over the Indian and Atlantic Ocean, respectively, and cover an extensive common area under different viewing angles. Comparisons of the retrievals from two full days, over ocean and land, and using different spectral combinations of visible and shortwave-infrared channels, are performed, to assess the importance of these factors in the retrieval process. The sensitivity of the cloud-bow- and cloud-glory-related irregularities to the width of the assumed droplet size distribution is analyzed by using different values of the effective variance of the size distribution. The results suggest for marine stratocumulus clouds an effective variance of around 0.05, which implies a narrower size distribution than typically assumed in satellite-based retrievals. For the case with continental clouds a broader size distribution (effective variance around 0.15) is obtained. This highlights the importance of appropriate size distribution assumptions and provides a way to improve the quality of cloud products in future climate data record releases.

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Benas, Nikos / Meirink, Jan Fokke / Stengel, Martin / et al: Sensitivity of liquid cloud optical thickness and effective radius retrievals to cloud bow and glory conditions using two SEVIRI imagers. 2019. Copernicus Publications.

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Rechteinhaber: Nikos Benas et al.

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