Cloud Particle Phase Determination with the AVHRR

Jeffrey R. Key NOAA/National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service, Madison, Wisconsin

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Janet M. Intrieri NOAA/Environmental Technology Laboratory, Boulder, Colorado

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Abstract

An accurate determination of cloud particle phase is required for the retrieval of other cloud properties from satellite and for radiative flux calculations in climate models. The physical principles underlying phase determination using the advanced very high resolution radiometer (AVHRR) satellite sensor are described for daytime and nighttime, cold cloud and warm cloud conditions. It is demonstrated that the spectral properties of cloud particles provide necessary, but not sufficient, information for phase determination, because the relationship between the cloud and surface temperatures is also important. Algorithms based on these principles are presented and tested. Validation with lidar and aircraft data from two Arctic field experiments shows the procedures to be accurate in identifying the phase of homogeneous water and ice clouds, though optically thin, mixed-phase, and multilayer clouds are problematic.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Jeffrey R. Key, NOAA/NESDIS, 1225 W. Dayton St., Madison, WI 53706.

jkey@ssec.wisc.edu

Abstract

An accurate determination of cloud particle phase is required for the retrieval of other cloud properties from satellite and for radiative flux calculations in climate models. The physical principles underlying phase determination using the advanced very high resolution radiometer (AVHRR) satellite sensor are described for daytime and nighttime, cold cloud and warm cloud conditions. It is demonstrated that the spectral properties of cloud particles provide necessary, but not sufficient, information for phase determination, because the relationship between the cloud and surface temperatures is also important. Algorithms based on these principles are presented and tested. Validation with lidar and aircraft data from two Arctic field experiments shows the procedures to be accurate in identifying the phase of homogeneous water and ice clouds, though optically thin, mixed-phase, and multilayer clouds are problematic.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Jeffrey R. Key, NOAA/NESDIS, 1225 W. Dayton St., Madison, WI 53706.

jkey@ssec.wisc.edu

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