Comparing airborne and satellite retrievals of cloud optical thickness and particle effective radius using a spectral radiance ratio technique: two case studies for cirrus and deep convective clouds

Krisna, Trismono C.; Wendisch, Manfred; Ehrlich, André; Jäkel, Evelyn; Werner, Frank; Weigel, Ralf; Borrmann, Stephan; Mahnke, Christoph; Pöschl, Ulrich; Andreae, Meinrat O.; Voigt, Christiane; Machado, Luiz A. T.

Solar radiation reflected by cirrus and deep convective clouds (DCCs) was measured by the Spectral Modular Airborne Radiation Measurement System (SMART) installed on the German High Altitude and Long Range Research Aircraft (HALO) during the Mid-Latitude Cirrus (ML-CIRRUS) and the Aerosol, Cloud, Precipitation, and Radiation Interaction and Dynamic of Convective Clouds System – Cloud Processes of the Main Precipitation Systems in Brazil: A Contribution to Cloud Resolving Modelling and to the Global Precipitation Measurement (ACRIDICON-CHUVA) campaigns. On particular flights, HALO performed measurements closely collocated with overpasses of the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard the Aqua satellite. A cirrus cloud located above liquid water clouds and a DCC topped by an anvil cirrus are analyzed in this paper. Based on the nadir spectral upward radiance measured above the two clouds, the optical thickness inline-formulaτ and particle effective radius inline-formulareff of the cirrus and DCC are retrieved using a radiance ratio technique, which considers the cloud thermodynamic phase, the vertical profile of cloud microphysical properties, the presence of multilayer clouds, and the heterogeneity of the surface albedo. For the cirrus case, the comparison of inline-formulaτ and inline-formulareff retrieved on the basis of SMART and MODIS measurements yields a normalized mean absolute deviation of up to inline-formula1.2 % for inline-formulaτ and inline-formula2.1 % for inline-formulareff. For the DCC case, deviations of up to inline-formula3.6 % for inline-formulaτ and inline-formula6.2 % for inline-formulareff are obtained. The larger deviations in the DCC case are mainly attributed to the fast cloud evolution and three-dimensional (3-D) radiative effects. Measurements of spectral upward radiance at near-infrared wavelengths are employed to investigate the vertical profile of inline-formulareff in the cirrus. The retrieved values of inline-formulareff are compared with corresponding in situ measurements using a vertical weighting method. Compared to the MODIS observations, measurements of SMART provide more information on the vertical distribution of particle sizes, which allow reconstructing the profile of inline-formulareff close to the cloud top. The comparison between retrieved and in situ inline-formulareff yields a normalized mean absolute deviation, which ranges between 1.5 and 10.3 %, and a robust correlation coefficient of 0.82.

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Krisna, Trismono C. / Wendisch, Manfred / Ehrlich, André / et al: Comparing airborne and satellite retrievals of cloud optical thickness and particle effective radius using a spectral radiance ratio technique: two case studies for cirrus and deep convective clouds. 2018. Copernicus Publications.

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