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Zhaoyan Liu, Mark Vaughan, David Winker, Chieko Kittaka, Brian Getzewich, Ralph Kuehn, Ali Omar, Kathleen Powell, Charles Trepte, and Chris Hostetler


The Cloud–Aerosol Lidar and Infrared Pathfinder Satellite Observations (CALIPSO) satellite was launched in April 2006 to provide global vertically resolved measurements of clouds and aerosols. Correct discrimination between clouds and aerosols observed by the lidar aboard the CALIPSO satellite is critical for accurate retrievals of cloud and aerosol optical properties and the correct interpretation of measurements. This paper reviews the theoretical basis of the CALIPSO lidar cloud and aerosol discrimination (CAD) algorithm, and describes the enhancements made to the version 2 algorithm that is used in the current data release (release 2). The paper also presents a preliminary assessment of the CAD performance based on one full day (12 August 2006) of expert manual classification and on one full month (July 2006) of the CALIOP 5-km cloud and aerosol layer products. Overall, the CAD algorithm works well in most cases. The 1-day manual verification suggests that the success rate is in the neighborhood of 90% or better. Nevertheless, several specific layer types are still misclassified with some frequency. Among these, the most prevalent are dense dust and smoke close to the source regions. The analysis of the July 2006 data showed that the misclassification of dust as cloud occurs for <1% of the total tropospheric cloud and aerosol features found. Smoke layers are misclassified less frequently than are dust layers. Optically thin clouds in the polar regions can be misclassified as aerosols. While the fraction of such misclassifications is small compared with the number of aerosol features found globally, caution should be taken when studies are performed on the aerosol in the polar regions. Modifications will be made to the CAD algorithm in future data releases, and the misclassifications encountered in the current data release are expected to be reduced greatly.

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Ali H. Omar, David M. Winker, Mark A. Vaughan, Yongxiang Hu, Charles R. Trepte, Richard A. Ferrare, Kam-Pui Lee, Chris A. Hostetler, Chieko Kittaka, Raymond R. Rogers, Ralph E. Kuehn, and Zhaoyan Liu


Descriptions are provided of the aerosol classification algorithms and the extinction-to-backscatter ratio (lidar ratio) selection schemes for the Cloud-Aerosol Lidar and Infrared Pathfinder Satellite Observations (CALIPSO) aerosol products. One year of CALIPSO level 2 version 2 data are analyzed to assess the veracity of the CALIPSO aerosol-type identification algorithm and generate vertically resolved distributions of aerosol types and their respective optical characteristics. To assess the robustness of the algorithm, the interannual variability is analyzed by using a fixed season (June–August) and aerosol type (polluted dust) over two consecutive years (2006 and 2007). The CALIPSO models define six aerosol types: clean continental, clean marine, dust, polluted continental, polluted dust, and smoke, with 532-nm (1064 nm) extinction-to-backscatter ratios Sa of 35 (30), 20 (45), 40 (55), 70 (30), 65 (30), and 70 (40) sr, respectively. This paper presents the global distributions of the CALIPSO aerosol types, the complementary distributions of integrated attenuated backscatter, and the volume depolarization ratio for each type. The aerosol-type distributions are further partitioned according to surface type (land/ocean) and detection resolution (5, 20, and 80 km) for optical and spatial context, because the optically thick layers are found most often at the smallest spatial resolution. Except for clean marine and polluted continental, all the aerosol types are found preferentially at the 80-km resolution. Nearly 80% of the smoke cases and 60% of the polluted dust cases are found over water, whereas dust and polluted continental cases are found over both land and water at comparable frequencies. Because the CALIPSO observables do not sufficiently constrain the determination of the aerosol, the surface type is used to augment the selection criteria. Distributions of the total attenuated color ratios show that the use of surface type in the typing algorithm does not result in abrupt and artificial changes in aerosol type or extinction.

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