Characteristics of the NOAA/NESDIS Cloud Retrieval Algorithm Using HIRS-MSU Radiance Measurements

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  • a Research and Data Systems Corporation, Greenbelt, Maryland
  • b General Science Corporation/SAIC, Laurel, Maryland
  • c Office of Research and Application/NESDIS/NOAA, Washington, D.C.
  • d NCEP/NWS/NOAA, Washington, D.C.
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Abstract

A cloud retrieval algorithm using NOAA/National Environmental Satellite, Data and Information Service High-Resolution Infrared Radiation Sounder 2 Microwave Sounding Unit measurements from a polar-orbiting satellite, described in McMillin et al., uses multiple channel pairs with a two-pass procedure for enhancing accuracies. The current paper complements McMillin et al. in several ways. First, it describes the characteristics of the channel pairs used in the algorithm while documenting the logic of the channel selection. It shows that the cloud-top heights and cloud fractions are dependent on the sensing channel pairs. The higher the altitude of the weighting function, the smaller the cloud fractions. Second, it adds an atmospheric attenuation correction and displays its effect on cloud-top heights. Without the attenuation correction, the cloud-top distributions are separated into two bands, possibly as a result of the distance between the heights of the weighting functions of the sensing channel pair. The attenuation correction effectively eliminates the gap, both by lowering the upper band and by elevating the lower band. The cloud fractions from this experimental operation are compared with Air Force Real-Time Nephanalysis for 3 months, and they reveal its strength in detecting low-level stratus.

Abstract

A cloud retrieval algorithm using NOAA/National Environmental Satellite, Data and Information Service High-Resolution Infrared Radiation Sounder 2 Microwave Sounding Unit measurements from a polar-orbiting satellite, described in McMillin et al., uses multiple channel pairs with a two-pass procedure for enhancing accuracies. The current paper complements McMillin et al. in several ways. First, it describes the characteristics of the channel pairs used in the algorithm while documenting the logic of the channel selection. It shows that the cloud-top heights and cloud fractions are dependent on the sensing channel pairs. The higher the altitude of the weighting function, the smaller the cloud fractions. Second, it adds an atmospheric attenuation correction and displays its effect on cloud-top heights. Without the attenuation correction, the cloud-top distributions are separated into two bands, possibly as a result of the distance between the heights of the weighting functions of the sensing channel pair. The attenuation correction effectively eliminates the gap, both by lowering the upper band and by elevating the lower band. The cloud fractions from this experimental operation are compared with Air Force Real-Time Nephanalysis for 3 months, and they reveal its strength in detecting low-level stratus.

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