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Frédérick Chosson
,
Jean-Louis Brenguier
, and
Lothar Schüller

Abstract

In general circulation models, clouds are parameterized and radiative transfer calculations are performed using the plane-parallel approximation over the cloudy fraction of each model grid. The albedo bias resulting from the plane-parallel representation of spatially heterogeneous clouds has been extensively studied, but the impact of entrainment-mixing processes on cloud microphysics has been neglected up to now. In this paper, this issue is examined by using large-eddy simulations of stratocumulus clouds and tridimensional calculations of radiative transfer in the visible and near-infrared ranges. Two extreme scenarios of mixing are tested: the homogeneous mixing scheme with constant concentration and reduced droplet sizes, against the inhomogeneous mixing scheme, with reduced concentration and constant droplet sizes. The tests reveal that entrainment-mixing effects at cloud top may substantially bias the simulated albedo. In the worse case, which corresponds to a fragmented and thin stratocumulus cloud, the albedo bias changes from −3% to −31% when using both mixing schemes alternatively.

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Lothar Schüller
,
Ralf Bennartz
,
Jürgen Fischer
, and
Jean-Louis Brenguier

Abstract

Algorithms are now currently used for the retrieval of cloud optical thickness and droplet effective radius from multispectral radiance measurements. This paper extends their application to the retrieval of cloud droplet number concentration, cloud geometrical thickness, and liquid water path in shallow convective clouds, using an algorithm that was previously tested with airborne measurements of cloud radiances and validated against in situ measurements of the same clouds. The retrieval is based on a stratified cloud model of liquid water content and droplet spectrum. Radiance measurements in visible and near-infrared channels of the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS), which is operated from the NASA platforms Terra and Aqua, are analyzed. Because of uncertainties in the simulation of the continental surface reflectance, the algorithm is presently limited to the monitoring of the microphysical structure of boundary layer clouds over the ocean. Two MODIS scenes of extended cloud fields over the North Atlantic Ocean trade wind region are processed. A transport and dispersion model (the Hybrid Single-Particle Lagrangian Integrated Trajectory Model, HYSPLIT4) is also used to characterize the origin of the air masses and hence their aerosol regimes. One cloud field formed in an air mass that was advected from southern Europe and North Africa. It shows high values of the droplet concentration when compared with the second cloud system, which developed in a more pristine environment. The more pristine case also exhibits a higher geometrical thickness and, thus, liquid water path, which counterbalances the expected cloud albedo increase of the polluted case. Estimates of cloud liquid water path are then compared with retrievals from the Special Sensor Microwave Imager (SSM/I). SSM/I-derived liquid water paths are in good agreement with the MODIS-derived values.

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Jean-Louis Brenguier
,
Hanna Pawlowska
,
Lothar Schüller
,
Rene Preusker
,
Jürgen Fischer
, and
Yves Fouquart

Abstract

The plane-parallel model for the parameterization of clouds in global climate models is examined in order to estimate the effects of the vertical profile of the microphysical parameters on radiative transfer calculations for extended boundary layer clouds. The vertically uniform model is thus compared to the adiabatic stratified one. The validation of the adiabatic model is based on simultaneous measurements of cloud microphysical parameters in situ and cloud radiative properties from above the cloud layer with a multispectral radiometer. In particular, the observations demonstrate that the dependency of cloud optical thickness on cloud geometrical thickness is larger than predicted with the vertically uniform model and that it is in agreement with the prediction of the adiabatic one. Numerical simulations of the radiative transfer have been performed to establish the equivalence between the two models in terms of the effective radius. They show that the equivalent effective radius of a vertically uniform model is between 80% and 100% of the effective radius at the top of an adiabatic stratified model. The relationship depends, in fact, upon the cloud geometrical thickness and droplet concentration. Remote sensing measurements of cloud radiances in the visible and near infrared are then examined at the scale of a cloud system for a marine case and the most polluted case sampled during the second Aerosol Characterization Experiment. The distributions of the measured values are significantly different between the two cases. This constitutes observational evidence of the aerosol indirect effect at the scale of a cloud system. Finally, the adiabatic stratified model is used to develop a procedure for the retrieval of cloud geometrical thickness and cloud droplet number concentration from the measurements of cloud radiances. It is applied to the marine and to the polluted cases. The retrieved values of droplet concentration are significantly underestimated with respect to the values measured in situ. Despite this discrepancy the procedure is efficient at distinguishing the difference between the two cases.

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Alessio Lattanzio
,
Jörg Schulz
,
Jessica Matthews
,
Arata Okuyama
,
Bertrand Theodore
,
John J. Bates
,
Kenneth R. Knapp
,
Yuki Kosaka
, and
Lothar Schüller

Climate has been recognized to have direct and indirect impact on society and economy, both in the long term and daily life. The challenge of understanding the climate system, with its variability and changes, is enormous and requires a joint long-term international commitment from research and governmental institutions. An important international body to coordinate worldwide climate monitoring efforts is the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). The Global Climate Observing System (GCOS) has the mission to provide coordination and the requirements for global observations and essential climate variables (ECVs) to monitor climate changes. The WMO-led activity on Sustained, Coordinated Processing of Environmental Satellite Data for Climate Monitoring (SCOPE-CM) is responding to these requirements by ensuring a continuous and sustained generation of climate data records (CDRs) from satellite data in compliance with the principles and guidelines of GCOS. SCOPE-CM represents a new partnership between operational space agencies to coordinate the generation of CDRs. To this end, pilot projects for different ECVs, such as surface albedo, cloud properties, water vapor, atmospheric motion winds, and upper-tropospheric humidity, have been initiated. The coordinated activity on land surface albedo involves the operational meteorological satellite agencies in Europe [European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT)], in Japan [the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA)], and in the United States [National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)]. This paper presents the first results toward the generation of a unique land surface albedo CDR, involving five different geostationary satellite positions and approximately three decades of data starting in the 1980s, and combining close to 30 different satellite instruments.

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