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Cloud Field Reflectance Variations Traceable to Finite Cloud Effects

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  • 1 Department of Atmospheric Science, Colorado State University, Ft. Collins, Colorado
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Abstract

Results of experiments conducted using the Cloud Field Optical Simulator (CFOS) to examine the variability in reflectance properties of cloud fields with fixed cloud amount but different cloud patterns are presented. Angular reflectance data from 20 cloud fields with a common cloud amount of 30 percent were analyzed. The experiment demonstrated the problem of changing spot size as a function of view angle for a fixed field of view detector.

Seven different incident solar zenith angles were analyzed for variations in reflected irradiances arising from different cloud field patterns. Results show irradiance variations as great as 31% at large incident zenith angles. Also indicated are increased irradiances and increased anisotropy at large incident zenith angles.

Radiances and irradiances of interacting cloud elements were compared to those of noninteracting clouds. Interacting cloud fields produced larger radiance and irradiance values than noninteracting cloud fields. The differences between interacting and noninteracting cloud fields were greater at smaller source zenith angles. Maximum radiances were found at photodiode locations measuring backscattered radiation in the interacting cloud fields.

Reflectances were integrated as a function of zenith angle to produce daily reflectances for five different latitude/date combinations. Analysis of this study demonstrated the importance of the sides of clouds, and verified irradiance differences due to cloud patterns when examined on a daily scale.

Irradiances calculated utilizing 195 radiances, each measured at different local zenith and azimuth angles, were compared with irradiances calculated from a single radiance assuming isotropy. The isotropic assumption produced overestimates of the measured irradiances at large local zenith angles when the photodiode detectors measured backscattered radiation, and underestimates when the detectors measured forward scattered radiation. Minimum errors were found at small local zenith angles.

Abstract

Results of experiments conducted using the Cloud Field Optical Simulator (CFOS) to examine the variability in reflectance properties of cloud fields with fixed cloud amount but different cloud patterns are presented. Angular reflectance data from 20 cloud fields with a common cloud amount of 30 percent were analyzed. The experiment demonstrated the problem of changing spot size as a function of view angle for a fixed field of view detector.

Seven different incident solar zenith angles were analyzed for variations in reflected irradiances arising from different cloud field patterns. Results show irradiance variations as great as 31% at large incident zenith angles. Also indicated are increased irradiances and increased anisotropy at large incident zenith angles.

Radiances and irradiances of interacting cloud elements were compared to those of noninteracting clouds. Interacting cloud fields produced larger radiance and irradiance values than noninteracting cloud fields. The differences between interacting and noninteracting cloud fields were greater at smaller source zenith angles. Maximum radiances were found at photodiode locations measuring backscattered radiation in the interacting cloud fields.

Reflectances were integrated as a function of zenith angle to produce daily reflectances for five different latitude/date combinations. Analysis of this study demonstrated the importance of the sides of clouds, and verified irradiance differences due to cloud patterns when examined on a daily scale.

Irradiances calculated utilizing 195 radiances, each measured at different local zenith and azimuth angles, were compared with irradiances calculated from a single radiance assuming isotropy. The isotropic assumption produced overestimates of the measured irradiances at large local zenith angles when the photodiode detectors measured backscattered radiation, and underestimates when the detectors measured forward scattered radiation. Minimum errors were found at small local zenith angles.

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