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  • Author or Editor: Louie Grasso x
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Daniel T. Lindsey
and
Louie Grasso

Abstract

Satellite retrieval of cirrus cloud microphysical properties is an important but difficult problem because of uncertainties in ice-scattering characteristics. Most methods have been developed for instruments aboard polar-orbiting satellites, which have better spatial and spectral resolution than geostationary sensors. The Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) series has the advantage of excellent temporal resolution, so that the evolution of thunderstorm-cloud-top properties can be monitored. In this paper, the authors discuss the development of a simple ice cloud effective radius retrieval for thick ice clouds using three bands from the GOES imager: one each in the visible, shortwave infrared, and window infrared portion of the spectrum. It is shown that this retrieval compares favorably to the MODIS effective radius algorithm. In addition, a comparison of the retrieval for clouds viewed simultaneously from GOES-East and GOES-West reveals that the assumed ice-scattering properties perform very well. The algorithm is then used to produce maps of mean ice cloud effective radius over the continental United States. A real-time version of this retrieval is currently running and may be used to study the evolution of thunderstorm-top ice crystal size in rapidly evolving convection.

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Daniel T. Lindsey
,
Louie Grasso
,
John F. Dostalek
, and
Jochen Kerkmann

Abstract

The depth of boundary layer water vapor plays a critical role in convective cloud formation in the warm season, but numerical models often struggle with accurate predictions of above-surface moisture. Satellite retrievals of water vapor have been developed, but they are limited by the use of a model’s first guess, instrument spectral resolution, horizontal footprint size, and vertical resolution. In 2016, Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite-R (GOES-R), the first in a series of new-generation geostationary satellites, will be launched. Its Advanced Baseline Imager will provide unprecedented spectral, spatial, and temporal resolution. Among the bands are two centered at 10.35 and 12.3 μm. The brightness temperature difference between these bands is referred to as the split-window difference, and has been shown to provide information about atmospheric column water vapor. In this paper, the split-window difference is reexamined from the perspective of GOES-R and radiative transfer model simulations are used to better understand the factors controlling its value. It is shown that the simple split-window difference can provide useful information for forecasters about deepening low-level water vapor in a cloud-free environment.

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