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Using Radio Occultation to Detect Clouds in the Middle and Upper Troposphere

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  • 1 a Atmospheric and Environmental Research, Inc., Lexington, Massachusetts
  • | 2 b PlanetiQ, Golden, Colorado
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Abstract

Radio occultation (RO) measurements have little direct sensitivity to clouds, but recent studies have shown that they may have an indirect sensitivity to thin, high clouds that are difficult to detect using conventional passive space-based cloud sensors. We implement two RO-based cloud detection (ROCD) algorithms for atmospheric layers in the middle and upper troposphere. The first algorithm is based on the methodology of a previous study, which explored signatures caused by upper-tropospheric clouds in RO profiles according to retrieved relative humidity, temperature lapse rate, and gradients in log-refractivity (ROCD-P), and the second is based on inferred relative humidity alone (ROCD-M). In both, atmospheric layers are independently predicted as cloudy or clear based on observational data, including high-performance RO retrievals. In a demonstration, we use data from 10 days spanning 7 months in 2020 of Formosa Satellite 7 (FORMOSAT-7)/COSMIC-2. We use the forecasts of NOAA GFS to aid in the retrieval of relative humidity. The prediction is validated with a cloud truth dataset created from the imagery of the GOES-16 Advanced Baseline Imager (ABI) satellite and the GFS three-dimensional analysis of cloud-state conditions. Given these two algorithms for the presence or absence of clouds, confusion matrices and receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves are used to analyze how well these algorithms perform. The ROCD-M algorithm has a balanced accuracy, which defines the quality of the classification test that considers both the sensitivity and specificity, greater than 70% for all altitudes between 6 and 10.25 km.

© 2021 American Meteorological Society. For information regarding reuse of this content and general copyright information, consult the AMS Copyright Policy (www.ametsoc.org/PUBSReuseLicenses).

Corresponding author: Jeana Mascio, jmascio@aer.com

Abstract

Radio occultation (RO) measurements have little direct sensitivity to clouds, but recent studies have shown that they may have an indirect sensitivity to thin, high clouds that are difficult to detect using conventional passive space-based cloud sensors. We implement two RO-based cloud detection (ROCD) algorithms for atmospheric layers in the middle and upper troposphere. The first algorithm is based on the methodology of a previous study, which explored signatures caused by upper-tropospheric clouds in RO profiles according to retrieved relative humidity, temperature lapse rate, and gradients in log-refractivity (ROCD-P), and the second is based on inferred relative humidity alone (ROCD-M). In both, atmospheric layers are independently predicted as cloudy or clear based on observational data, including high-performance RO retrievals. In a demonstration, we use data from 10 days spanning 7 months in 2020 of Formosa Satellite 7 (FORMOSAT-7)/COSMIC-2. We use the forecasts of NOAA GFS to aid in the retrieval of relative humidity. The prediction is validated with a cloud truth dataset created from the imagery of the GOES-16 Advanced Baseline Imager (ABI) satellite and the GFS three-dimensional analysis of cloud-state conditions. Given these two algorithms for the presence or absence of clouds, confusion matrices and receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves are used to analyze how well these algorithms perform. The ROCD-M algorithm has a balanced accuracy, which defines the quality of the classification test that considers both the sensitivity and specificity, greater than 70% for all altitudes between 6 and 10.25 km.

© 2021 American Meteorological Society. For information regarding reuse of this content and general copyright information, consult the AMS Copyright Policy (www.ametsoc.org/PUBSReuseLicenses).

Corresponding author: Jeana Mascio, jmascio@aer.com
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