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  • Author or Editor: Salvador Matamoros x
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Salvador Matamoros
,
Josep-Abel González
, and
Josep Calbó

Abstract

A deeper knowledge of the effects and interactions of clouds in the climatic system requires developing both satellite and ground-based methods to assess their optical properties. A simple method based on a parameterized inversion of a radiative transfer model is proposed to estimate the optical depth of thick liquid water clouds from the atmospheric transmittance at 415 nm, solar zenith angle, surface albedo, effective droplet radius, and aerosol load. When concurrent measurements of atmospheric transmittance and liquid water path are available, the effective radius of the droplet size distribution can also be retrieved. The method is compared with a reference algorithm from Min and Harrison, which uses similar data, except aerosol load. When applied to measurements performed at the Southern Great Plains site of the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement Program, the mean bias deviation between the proposed method and the reference method is only −0.08 in units of optical depth, whereas the standard deviation is only 0.46. For the effective droplet radius estimations, the mean bias deviation is −0.13 μm, and the standard deviation is 0.14 μm. Maximum relative deviations are lower than 5% and 8% for cloud optical depth and effective radius, respectively. The effects on these retrievals of the assumed aerosol optical depth and surface albedo are also analyzed.

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