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C. M. R. Platt, David W. Reynolds, and N. L. Abshire

Abstract

Radiometric data from the SMS-2 and GOES-1 geostationary satellites together with ground-based lidar scans have been combined to determine the visible albedo, infrared emittance and visible optical depth of cirrus clouds. The combined observations were made on an area of cirrus of about 10 km by 10 km square at Boulder, Colorado during two days.

A method of analysis was developed to separate out the cloud albedo from surface albedo effects, to allow for possible anisotropy in the bi-directional reflectance of solar radiation from the clouds, and to compare the data with results of theoretical calculations.

Relations between the visible albedo and the infrared emittance, which were derived from satellite data, and the visible optical depth, which was derived from lidar measurements, were compared with theoretical relations derived from two models of cloud particle scattering. The first model assumes that the cloud is composed of water (or ice) spheres and the second that it is composed of long ice cylinders. It was found that the observational data agree best with the latter model, although there are still some discrepancies.

The infrared emittances varied between 0.2 and 0.95, the corresponding albedos between 0.10 and 0.32 and the visible optical depths between 0.5 and 3.5.

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