Aircraft Observations of the Shortwave Fractional Absorptance of Non-Homogeneous Clouds

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  • 1 Department of Atmospheric Science, Colorado State University, Fort Collins 80523
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Abstract

Techniques for normalizing aircraft measurements of solar irradiance to a horizontal surface and a constant solar zenith angle are outlined. The effects of these normalization procedures are a minimum when the data are collected at small solar zenith angles. A method of analysis is discussed which takes into account the effects of the heterogeneous structure of clouds on observations of cloud fractional absorptance in the 0.3–2.8 μm spectral interval. Application of the technique to the observed absorptance, results in a corrected fractional absorptance value which is in better agreement with theoretical calculations than previously reported. In addition, the technique significantly reduces the sampling time required to obtain a representative cloud fractional absorptance.

Abstract

Techniques for normalizing aircraft measurements of solar irradiance to a horizontal surface and a constant solar zenith angle are outlined. The effects of these normalization procedures are a minimum when the data are collected at small solar zenith angles. A method of analysis is discussed which takes into account the effects of the heterogeneous structure of clouds on observations of cloud fractional absorptance in the 0.3–2.8 μm spectral interval. Application of the technique to the observed absorptance, results in a corrected fractional absorptance value which is in better agreement with theoretical calculations than previously reported. In addition, the technique significantly reduces the sampling time required to obtain a representative cloud fractional absorptance.

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