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A. J. Illingworth, H. W. Barker, A. Beljaars, M. Ceccaldi, H. Chepfer, N. Clerbaux, J. Cole, J. Delanoë, C. Domenech, D. P. Donovan, S. Fukuda, M. Hirakata, R. J. Hogan, A. Huenerbein, P. Kollias, T. Kubota, T. Nakajima, T. Y. Nakajima, T. Nishizawa, Y. Ohno, H. Okamoto, R. Oki, K. Sato, M. Satoh, M. W. Shephard, A. Velázquez-Blázquez, U. Wandinger, T. Wehr, and G.-J. van Zadelhoff


The collective representation within global models of aerosol, cloud, precipitation, and their radiative properties remains unsatisfactory. They constitute the largest source of uncertainty in predictions of climatic change and hamper the ability of numerical weather prediction models to forecast high-impact weather events. The joint European Space Agency (ESA)–Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) Earth Clouds, Aerosol and Radiation Explorer (EarthCARE) satellite mission, scheduled for launch in 2018, will help to resolve these weaknesses by providing global profiles of cloud, aerosol, precipitation, and associated radiative properties inferred from a combination of measurements made by its collocated active and passive sensors. EarthCARE will improve our understanding of cloud and aerosol processes by extending the invaluable dataset acquired by the A-Train satellites CloudSat, Cloud–Aerosol Lidar and Infrared Pathfinder Satellite Observations (CALIPSO), and Aqua. Specifically, EarthCARE’s cloud profiling radar, with 7 dB more sensitivity than CloudSat, will detect more thin clouds and its Doppler capability will provide novel information on convection, precipitating ice particle, and raindrop fall speeds. EarthCARE’s 355-nm high-spectral-resolution lidar will measure directly and accurately cloud and aerosol extinction and optical depth. Combining this with backscatter and polarization information should lead to an unprecedented ability to identify aerosol type. The multispectral imager will provide a context for, and the ability to construct, the cloud and aerosol distribution in 3D domains around the narrow 2D retrieved cross section. The consistency of the retrievals will be assessed to within a target of ±10 W m–2 on the (10 km)2 scale by comparing the multiview broadband radiometer observations to the top-of-atmosphere fluxes estimated by 3D radiative transfer models acting on retrieved 3D domains.

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B. Soden, S. Tjemkes, J. Schmetz, R. Saunders, J. Bates, B. Ellingson, R. Engelen, L. Garand, D. Jackson, G. Jedlovec, T. Kleespies, D. Randel, P. Rayer, E. Salathe, D. Schwarzkopf, N. Scott, B. Sohn, S. de Souza-Machado, L. Strow, D. Tobin, D. Turner, P. van Delst, and T. Wehr

An intercomparison of radiation codes used in retrieving upper-tropospheric humidity (UTH) from observations in the ν2 (6.3 μm) water vapor absorption band was performed. This intercomparison is one part of a coordinated effort within the Global Energy and Water Cycle Experiment Water Vapor Project to assess our ability to monitor the distribution and variations of upper-tropospheric moisture from spaceborne sensors. A total of 23 different codes, ranging from detailed line-by-line (LBL) models, to coarser-resolution narrowband (NB) models, to highly parameterized single-band (SB) models participated in the study. Forward calculations were performed using a carefully selected set of temperature and moisture profiles chosen to be representative of a wide range of atmospheric conditions. The LBL model calculations exhibited the greatest consistency with each other, typically agreeing to within 0.5 K in terms of the equivalent blackbody brightness temperature (Tb). The majority of NB and SB models agreed to within ±1 K of the LBL models, although a few older models exhibited systematic Tb biases in excess of 2 K. A discussion of the discrepancies between various models, their association with differences in model physics (e.g., continuum absorption), and their implications for UTH retrieval and radiance assimilation is presented.

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