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Angular Effect of Undetected Clouds in Infrared Window Radiance Observations: Aircraft Experimental Analyses

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  • 1 I.M. Systems Group, Inc., Rockville, Maryland
  • 2 Hampton University, Hampton, Virginia
  • 3 NOAA/NESDIS/Center for Satellite Applications and Research, College Park, Maryland
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Abstract

This paper furthers previous investigations into the zenith angular effect of cloud contamination within infrared (IR) window radiance observations commonly used in the retrieval of environmental data records (EDRs). Here analyses were performed of clear-sky forward radiance calculations versus observations obtained under clear to partly cloudy conditions over ocean. The authors utilized high-resolution IR spectra observed by the aircraft-based National Polar-Orbiting Partnership (NPP) Aircraft Sounder Test Bed-Interferometer (NAST-I) during the Joint Airborne Infrared Atmospheric Sounding Interferometer (IASI) Validation Experiment (JAIVEx) and performed forward calculations using collocated dropsondes. An aerosol optical depth EDR product derived from Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) was then applied to detect clouds within NAST-I fields of view (FOVs). To calculate the angular variation of clouds, expressions were derived for estimating cloud aspect ratios from visible imagery where cloud shadow lengths can be estimated relative to cloud horizontal diameters. In agreement with sensitivity calculations, it was found that a small cloud fraction within window radiance observations can have a measurable impact on the angular agreement with clear-sky calculations on the order of 0.1–0.4 K in brightness temperature. It was also found that systematic sun-glint contamination can likewise have an impact on the order of 0.1 K. These results are germane to IR sensor data record (SDR) calibration/validation and EDR retrieval schemes depending upon clear-sky SDRs, as well as radiative transfer modeling involving randomly distributed broken cloud fields.

Corresponding author address: Nicholas R. Nalli, NOAA/NESDIS/ Center for Satellite Applications and Research (STAR), NCWCP E/RA2, 5830 University Research Court #2841, College Park, MD 20740-3818. E-mail: nick.nalli@noaa.gov

This article is included in the Aerosol-Cloud-Precipitation-Climate Interaction Special Collection.

Abstract

This paper furthers previous investigations into the zenith angular effect of cloud contamination within infrared (IR) window radiance observations commonly used in the retrieval of environmental data records (EDRs). Here analyses were performed of clear-sky forward radiance calculations versus observations obtained under clear to partly cloudy conditions over ocean. The authors utilized high-resolution IR spectra observed by the aircraft-based National Polar-Orbiting Partnership (NPP) Aircraft Sounder Test Bed-Interferometer (NAST-I) during the Joint Airborne Infrared Atmospheric Sounding Interferometer (IASI) Validation Experiment (JAIVEx) and performed forward calculations using collocated dropsondes. An aerosol optical depth EDR product derived from Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) was then applied to detect clouds within NAST-I fields of view (FOVs). To calculate the angular variation of clouds, expressions were derived for estimating cloud aspect ratios from visible imagery where cloud shadow lengths can be estimated relative to cloud horizontal diameters. In agreement with sensitivity calculations, it was found that a small cloud fraction within window radiance observations can have a measurable impact on the angular agreement with clear-sky calculations on the order of 0.1–0.4 K in brightness temperature. It was also found that systematic sun-glint contamination can likewise have an impact on the order of 0.1 K. These results are germane to IR sensor data record (SDR) calibration/validation and EDR retrieval schemes depending upon clear-sky SDRs, as well as radiative transfer modeling involving randomly distributed broken cloud fields.

Corresponding author address: Nicholas R. Nalli, NOAA/NESDIS/ Center for Satellite Applications and Research (STAR), NCWCP E/RA2, 5830 University Research Court #2841, College Park, MD 20740-3818. E-mail: nick.nalli@noaa.gov

This article is included in the Aerosol-Cloud-Precipitation-Climate Interaction Special Collection.

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