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Shan Zeng, Frédéric Parol, Jérôme Riedi, Céline Cornet, and François Thieuleux

Abstract

The Polarization and Anisotropy of Reflectances for Atmospheric Sciences Coupled with Observations from a Lidar (PARASOL) and Aqua are two satellites on sun-synchronous orbits in the A-Train constellation. Aboard these two platforms, the Polarization and Directionality of Earth Reflectances (POLDER) and Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) provide quasi simultaneous and coincident observations of cloud properties. The similar orbits but different detecting characteristics of these two sensors call for a comparison between the derived datasets to identify and quantify potential uncertainties in retrieved cloud properties.

To focus on the differences due to different sensor spatial resolution and coverage, while minimizing sampling and weighting issues, the authors have recomputed monthly statistics directly from the respective official level-2 products. The authors have developed a joint dataset that contains both POLDER and MODIS level-2 cloud products collocated on a common sinusoidal grid. The authors have then computed and analyzed monthly statistics of cloud fractions corresponding either to the total cloud cover or to the “retrieved” cloud fraction for which cloud optical properties are derived. These simple yet crucial cloud statistics need to be clearly understood to allow further comparison work of the other cloud parameters.

From this study, it is demonstrated that on average POLDER and MODIS datasets capture correctly the main characteristics of global cloud cover and provide similar spatial distributions and temporal variations. However, each sensor has its own advantages and weaknesses in discriminating between clear and cloudy skies in particular situations. Also it is shown that significant differences exist between the MODIS total cloud fraction (day mean) and the “retrieved” cloud fraction (combined mean). This study found a global negative difference of about 10% between POLDER and MODIS day-mean cloud fraction. On the contrary, a global positive difference of about 10% exists between POLDER and MODIS combined-mean cloud fraction. These statistical biases show both global and regional distributions that can be driven by sensors characteristics, environmental factors, and also carry potential information on cloud cover structure. These results provide information on the quality of cloud cover derived from POLDER and MODIS and should be taken into account for the use of other cloud products.

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Norman G. Loeb, Frédéric Parol, Jean-Claude Buriez, and Claudine Vanbauce

Abstract

The next generation of earth radiation budget satellite instruments will routinely merge estimates of global top-of-atmosphere radiative fluxes with cloud properties. This information will offer many new opportunities for validating radiative transfer models and cloud parameterizations in climate models. In this study, five months of Polarization and Directionality of the Earth’s Reflectances 670-nm radiance measurements are considered in order to examine how satellite cloud property retrievals can be used to define empirical angular distribution models (ADMs) for estimating top-of-atmosphere albedo. ADMs are defined for 19 scene types defined by satellite retrievals of cloud fraction and cloud optical depth. Two approaches are used to define the ADM scene types. The first assumes there are no biases in the retrieved cloud properties and defines ADMs for fixed discrete intervals of cloud fraction and cloud optical depth (fixed-τ approach). The second approach involves the same cloud fraction intervals, but uses percentile intervals of cloud optical depth instead (percentile-τ approach). Albedos generated using these methods are compared with albedos inferred directly from the mean observed reflectance field.

Albedos based on ADMs that assume cloud properties are unbiased (fixed-τ approach) show a strong systematic dependence on viewing geometry. This dependence becomes more pronounced with increasing solar zenith angle, reaching ≈12% (relative) between near-nadir and oblique viewing zenith angles for solar zenith angles between 60° and 70°. The cause for this bias is shown to be due to biases in the cloud optical depth retrievals. In contrast, albedos based on ADMs built using percentile intervals of cloud optical depth (percentile-τ approach) show very little viewing zenith angle dependence and are in good agreement with albedos obtained by direct integration of the mean observed reflectance field (<1% relative error). When the ADMs are applied separately to populations consisting of only liquid water and ice clouds, significant biases in albedo with viewing geometry are observed (particularly at low sun elevations), highlighting the need to account for cloud phase both in cloud optical depth retrievals and in defining ADM scene types. ADM-derived monthly mean albedos determined for all 5° × 5° lat–long regions over ocean are in good agreement (regional rms relative errors <2%) with those obtained by direct integration when ADM albedos inferred from specific angular bins are averaged together. Albedos inferred from near-nadir and oblique viewing zenith angles are the least accurate, with regional rms errors reaching ∼5%–10% (relative). Compared to an earlier study involving Earth Radiation Budget Experiment ADMs, regional mean albedos based on the 19 scene types considered here show a factor-of-4 reduction in bias error and a factor-of-3 reduction in rms error.

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Jean-Claude Buriez, Marie Doutriaux-Boucher, Frédéric Parol, and Norman G. Loeb

Abstract

The usual procedure for retrieving the optical thickness of liquid water clouds from satellite-measured radiances is based on the assumption of plane-parallel layers composed of liquid water droplets. This study investigates the validity of this assumption from Advanced Earth Orbiting Satellite–Polarization and Directionality of the Earth's Reflectances (ADEOS–POLDER) observations. To do that, the authors take advantage of the multidirectional viewing capability of the POLDER instrument, which functioned nominally aboard ADEOS from November 1996 to June 1997.

The usual plane-parallel cloud model composed of water droplets with an effective radius of 10 μm provides a reasonable approximation of the angular dependence in scattering at visible wavelengths from overcast liquid water clouds for moderate solar zenith angles. However, significant differences between model and observations appear in the rainbow direction and for the smallest observable values of scattering angle (Θ < 90°). A better overall agreement would be obtained for droplets with an effective radius of about 7–8 μm for continental liquid water clouds. On the other hand, changing the water droplet size distribution would not lead to a significant improvement for maritime situations. When horizontal variations in cloud optical thickness are considered by using the independent pixel approximation (IPA), a small improvement is obtained over the whole range of scattering angles but significant discrepancies remain for Θ < 80°, that is for large solar zenith angles in the forward-scattering direction. The remaining differences between various models based on the plane-parallel radiative transfer and POLDER observations are thought to be due to variations in cloud shape.

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Nicolas Ferlay, François Thieuleux, Céline Cornet, Anthony B. Davis, Philippe Dubuisson, Fabrice Ducos, Frédéric Parol, Jérôme Riédi, and Claudine Vanbauce

Abstract

New evidence from collocated measurements, with support from theory and numerical simulations, that multidirectional measurements in the oxygen A band from the third Polarization and Directionality of the Earth’s Reflectances (POLDER-3) instrument on the Polarization and Anisotropy of Reflectances for Atmospheric Sciences coupled with Observations from a Lidar (PARASOL) satellite platform within the “A-Train” can help to characterize the vertical structure of clouds is presented. In the case of monolayered clouds, the standard POLDER cloud oxygen pressure product P O2 is shown to be sensitive to the cloud geometrical thickness H in two complementary ways: 1) P O2 is, on average, close to the pressure at the geometrical middle of the cloud layer (MCP) and methods are proposed for reducing the pressure difference P O2 − MCP and 2) the angular standard deviation of P O2 and the cloud geometrical thickness H are tightly correlated for liquid clouds. Accounting for cloud phase, there is thus the potential to obtain a statistically reasonable estimate of H. Such derivation from passive measurements, as compared with or supplementing other observations, is expected to be of interest in a broad range of applications for which it is important to define better the macrophysical cloud parameters in a practical way.

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Odran Sourdeval, Gérard Brogniez, Jacques Pelon, Laurent C.-Labonnote, Philippe Dubuisson, Frédéric Parol, Damien Josset, Anne Garnier, Michaël Faivre, and Andreas Minikin

Abstract

In the frame of validation of the spatial observations from the radiometer IIR on board CALIPSO, the two airborne campaigns Cirrus Cloud Experiment (CIRCLE)-2 and Biscay ‘08 took place in 2007 and 2008 in the western part of France, over the Atlantic Ocean. During these experiments, remote sensing measurements were made over cirrus clouds, right under the track of Cloud–Aerosol Lidar and Infrared Pathfinder Satellite Observations (CALIPSO) in space and time collocation. For this purpose, a Falcon-20 aircraft was equipped with the Lidar pour l’Etude des Interactions Aérosols Nuages Dynamique Rayonnement et du Cycle de l’Eau (LEANDRE)-New Generation (NG) and the thermal infrared radiometer Conveyable Low-Noise Infrared Radiometer for Measurements of Atmosphere and Ground Surface Targets (CLIMAT)-Airborne Version (AV), whose spectral characteristics are strongly similar to those of the infrared imaging radiometer (IIR). In situ measurements were also taken in cirrus clouds during CIRCLE-2. After comparisons, consistent agreements are found between brightness temperatures measured by CLIMAT-AV and IIR. However, deviations in the brightness temperature measurements are still observed, mainly in the 8.6-μm channels. Simulations using a radiative transfer code are performed along a perfectly clear-sky area to show that these dissimilarities are inherent in slight differences between the spectral channels of both radiometers, and in differences between their altitudes. Cloudy and imperfectly clear areas are found to be harder to interpret, but the measurements are still coherent by taking into account experimental uncertainties. In the end, IIR measurements can be validated unambiguously.

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Julie Haggerty, Eric Defer, Adrianus De Laat, Kristopher Bedka, Jean-Marc Moisselin, Rodney Potts, Julien Delanoë, Frédéric Parol, Alice Grandin, and Stephanie Divito

Abstract

In the past two decades, more than 150 jet engine power-loss and damage events have been attributed to a phenomenon known as ice crystal icing (ICI). Ingestion of large numbers of ice particles into the engine core are thought to be responsible for these events, which typically occur at high altitudes near large convective systems in tropical air masses. In recent years, scientists, engineers, aviation regulators, and airlines from around the world have collaborated to better understand the relevant meteorological processes associated with ICI events, solve critical engineering problems, develop new certification standards, and devise mitigation strategies for the aviation industry. One area of research is the development of nowcasting techniques based on available remote sensing technology and numerical weather prediction (NWP) models to identify areas of high ice water content (IWC) and enable the provision of alerts to the aviation industry. Multiple techniques have been developed using geostationary and polar-orbiting satellite products, NWP model fields, and ground-based radar data as the basis for high-IWC products. Targeted field experiments in tropical regions with high incidence of ICI events have provided data for product validation and refinement of these methods. Beginning in 2015, research teams have assembled at a series of annual workshops to exchange ideas and standardize methods for evaluating performance of high-IWC detection products. This paper provides an overview of the approaches used and the current skill for identifying high-IWC conditions. Recommendations for future work in this area are also presented.

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Artemio Plana-Fattori, Gérard Brogniez, Patrick Chervet, Martial Haeffelin, Olga Lado-Bordowsky, Yohann Morille, Frédéric Parol, Jacques Pelon, Antoine Roblin, Geneviève Sèze, and Claudia Stubenrauch

Abstract

The characterization of high clouds as performed from selected spaceborne observations is assessed in this article by employing a number of worldwide ground-based lidar multiyear datasets as reference. Among the latter, the ground lidar observations conducted at Lannion, Bretagne (48.7°N, 3.5°W), and Palaiseau, near Paris [the Site Instrumental de Recherche par Télédétection Atmosphérique (SIRTA) observatory: 48.7°N, 2.2°E], both in France, are discussed in detail. High-cloud altitude statistics at these two sites were found to be similar. Optical thicknesses disagree, and possible reasons were analyzed. Despite the variety of instruments, observation strategies, and methods of analysis employed by different lidar groups, high-cloud optical thicknesses from the Geoscience Laser Altimeter System (GLAS) on board the Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite (ICESat) were found to be consistent on the latitude band 40°–60°N. Respective high-cloud altitudes agree within 1 km with respect to those from ground lidars at Lannion and Palaiseau; such a finding remains to be verified under other synoptic regimes. Mean altitudes of high clouds from Lannion and Palaiseau ground lidars were compared with altitudes of thin cirrus from the Television and Infrared Observation Satellite (TIROS) Operational Vertical Sounder (TOVS) Path-B 8-yr climatology for a common range of optical thicknesses (0.1–1.4). Over both sites, the annual altitude distribution of thin high clouds from TOVS Path-B is asymmetric, with a peak around 8–9.5 km, whereas the distribution of high clouds retrieved from ground lidars seems symmetric with a peak around 9.5–11.5 km. Additional efforts in standardizing ground lidar observation and processing methods, and in merging high-cloud statistics from complementary measuring platforms, are recommended.

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