Arctic Surface, Cloud, and Radiation Properties Based on the AVHRR Polar Pathfinder Dataset. Part I: Spatial and Temporal Characteristics

Xuanji Wang Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies, University of Wisconsin—Madison, Madison, Wisconsin

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Jeffrey R. Key Office of Research and Applications, NOAA/NESDIS, Madison, Wisconsin

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Abstract

With broad spectral coverage and high spatial and temporal resolutions, satellite sensors can provide the data needed for the analysis of spatial and temporal variations of climate parameters in data-sparse regions such as the Arctic and Antarctic. The newly available Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) Polar Pathfinder (APP) dataset was used to retrieve cloud fraction, cloud optical depth, cloud particle phase and size, cloud-top pressure and temperature, surface skin temperature, surface broadband albedo, radiative fluxes, and cloud forcing over the Arctic Ocean and surrounding landmasses for the 18-yr period from 1982 to 1999. In the Arctic, Greenland is the coldest region with the highest surface albedo, while northeastern Russia has the highest surface temperature in summer. Arctic annual mean cloud coverage is about 70%, with the largest cloudiness occurring in September and the lowest cloudiness occurring in April. On annual average, Arctic cloud visible optical depth is about 5–6. Arctic precipitable water is near 0.2 cm in winter and 1.5 cm in summer. The largest downwelling shortwave radiative flux at the surface occurs in June; the largest upwelling shortwave radiative flux occurs in May. The largest downwelling and upwelling longwave radiative fluxes as well as the net all-wave radiative flux occur in July, with the largest loss of longwave radiation from the surface in April.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Xuanji Wang, Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies, University of Wisconsin—Madison, 1225 West Dayton Street, Madison, WI 53706. Email: xuanjiw@ssec.wisc.edu

Abstract

With broad spectral coverage and high spatial and temporal resolutions, satellite sensors can provide the data needed for the analysis of spatial and temporal variations of climate parameters in data-sparse regions such as the Arctic and Antarctic. The newly available Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) Polar Pathfinder (APP) dataset was used to retrieve cloud fraction, cloud optical depth, cloud particle phase and size, cloud-top pressure and temperature, surface skin temperature, surface broadband albedo, radiative fluxes, and cloud forcing over the Arctic Ocean and surrounding landmasses for the 18-yr period from 1982 to 1999. In the Arctic, Greenland is the coldest region with the highest surface albedo, while northeastern Russia has the highest surface temperature in summer. Arctic annual mean cloud coverage is about 70%, with the largest cloudiness occurring in September and the lowest cloudiness occurring in April. On annual average, Arctic cloud visible optical depth is about 5–6. Arctic precipitable water is near 0.2 cm in winter and 1.5 cm in summer. The largest downwelling shortwave radiative flux at the surface occurs in June; the largest upwelling shortwave radiative flux occurs in May. The largest downwelling and upwelling longwave radiative fluxes as well as the net all-wave radiative flux occur in July, with the largest loss of longwave radiation from the surface in April.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Xuanji Wang, Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies, University of Wisconsin—Madison, 1225 West Dayton Street, Madison, WI 53706. Email: xuanjiw@ssec.wisc.edu

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