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  • Author or Editor: Seung-Hee Ham x
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Seung-Hee Ham
Seiji Kato
, and
Fred G. Rose


Because of the limitation of the spatial resolution of satellite sensors, satellite pixels identified as cloudy are often partly cloudy. For the first time, this study demonstrates the bias in shortwave (SW) broadband irradiances for partly cloudy pixels when the cloud optical depths are retrieved with an overcast and homogeneous assumption, and subsequently, the retrieved values are used for the irradiance computations. The sign of the SW irradiance bias is mainly a function of viewing geometry of the cloud retrieval. The bias in top-of-atmosphere (TOA) upward SW irradiances is positive for small viewing zenith angles (VZAs) <~60° and negative for large VZAs >~60°. For a given solar zenith angle and viewing geometry, the magnitude of the bias increases with the cloud optical depth and reaches a maximum at the cloud fraction between 0.2 and 0.8. The sign of the SW surface net irradiance bias is opposite of the sign of TOA upward irradiance bias, with a similar magnitude. As a result, the bias in absorbed SW irradiances by the atmosphere is smaller than the biases in both TOA and surface irradiances. The monthly mean biases in SW irradiances due to partly cloudy pixels are <1.5 W m−2 when cloud properties are derived from Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard Aqua.

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