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A Global Determination of Cloud Microphysics with AVHRR Remote Sensing

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  • 1 Center for Climate System Research, University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan
  • 2 National Space Development Agency of Japan, Earth Observation Research Center, Tokyo, Japan
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Abstract

An algorithm is developed for determining the cloud optical thickness and effective particle radius simultaneously on a global scale using Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) multispectral radiance data. In the algorithm, the treatment of thermal radiation in Nakajima and Nakajima is improved by reformulating the thermal emission in the atmospheric layers. At the same time, the lookup table for thermal emission is parameterized in terms of the equivalent water vapor path in order to include the effect of various vertical water vapor profiles.

The algorithm is applied to AVHRR radiance data corresponding to reported aircraft and balloon measurements of cloud microphysical parameters. A comparison shows a good agreement between in situ and satellite-retrieved values thus obtained. The algorithm is further applied to 4-month Global Area Coverage data of 1987 to generate global distributions of the cloud optical thickness and effective particle radius for every 0.5° × 0.5° box in a −60°–60° latitudinal region. Similarities and differences in the global features of the effective particle radius and the optical thickness are found as compared with the previous studies.

* Current affiliation: Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, and NASA Langley Research Center, Hampton, Virginia.

Corresponding author address: Kazuaki Kawamoto, Mail Stop 420, Atmospheric Sciences Division, NASA Langley Research Center, Hampton, VA 23681.

Email: k.kawamoto@larc.nasa.gov

Abstract

An algorithm is developed for determining the cloud optical thickness and effective particle radius simultaneously on a global scale using Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) multispectral radiance data. In the algorithm, the treatment of thermal radiation in Nakajima and Nakajima is improved by reformulating the thermal emission in the atmospheric layers. At the same time, the lookup table for thermal emission is parameterized in terms of the equivalent water vapor path in order to include the effect of various vertical water vapor profiles.

The algorithm is applied to AVHRR radiance data corresponding to reported aircraft and balloon measurements of cloud microphysical parameters. A comparison shows a good agreement between in situ and satellite-retrieved values thus obtained. The algorithm is further applied to 4-month Global Area Coverage data of 1987 to generate global distributions of the cloud optical thickness and effective particle radius for every 0.5° × 0.5° box in a −60°–60° latitudinal region. Similarities and differences in the global features of the effective particle radius and the optical thickness are found as compared with the previous studies.

* Current affiliation: Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, and NASA Langley Research Center, Hampton, Virginia.

Corresponding author address: Kazuaki Kawamoto, Mail Stop 420, Atmospheric Sciences Division, NASA Langley Research Center, Hampton, VA 23681.

Email: k.kawamoto@larc.nasa.gov

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