FRESCO-B: a fast cloud retrieval algorithm using oxygen B-band measurements from GOME-2
The FRESCO (Fast Retrieval Scheme for Clouds from the Oxygen A band) algorithm is a simple, fast and robust algorithm used to retrieve cloud information in operational satellite data processing. It has been applied to GOME-1 (Global Ozone Monitoring Experiment), SCIAMACHY (Scanning Imaging Absorption Spectrometer for Atmospheric Chartography), GOME-2 and more recently to TROPOMI (Tropospheric Monitoring Instrument). FRESCO retrieves effective cloud fraction and cloud pressure from measurements in the oxygen A band around 761 nm. In this paper, we propose a new version of the algorithm, called FRESCO-B, which is based on measurements in the oxygen B band around 687 nm. Such a method is interesting for vegetated surfaces where the surface albedo is much lower in the B band than in the A band, which limits the ground contribution to the top-of-atmosphere reflectances. In this study we first perform retrieval simulations. These show that the retrieved cloud pressures from FRESCO-B and FRESCO differ only between −10 and +10 hPa, except for high, thin clouds over vegetation where the difference is larger (about +15 to +30 hPa), with FRESCO-B yielding higher pressure. Next, inter-comparison between FRESCO-B and FRESCO retrievals over 1 month of GOME-2B data reveals that the effective cloud fractions retrieved in the O2 A and B bands are very similar (mean difference of 0.003), while the cloud pressures show a mean difference of 11.5 hPa, with FRESCO-B retrieving higher pressures than FRESCO. This agrees with the simulations and is partly due to deeper photon penetrations of the O2 B band in clouds compared to the O2 A-band photons and partly due to the surface albedo bias in FRESCO. Finally, validation with ground-based measurements shows that the FRESCO-B cloud pressure represents an altitude within the cloud boundaries for clouds that are not too far from the Lambertian reflector model, which occurs in about 50 % of the cases.