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Cirrus Infrared Parameters and Shortwave Reflectance Relations from Observations

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  • 1 Laboratory for Atmospheres, NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbell, Maryland
  • | 2 Science Systems Applications, Inc., Lanham, Maryland
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Abstract

A summary of experimental observations and analysis of cirrus from high-altitude aircraft remote sensing is presented. The vertical distribution of cirrus optical and infrared cross-section parameters and the relative effective emittance and visible reflectance are derived from nadir-viewing lidar and multispectral radiometer data for observations during the 1986 and 1991 FIRE cirrus experiments. Statistics on scattering and absorption cross sections in relation to altitude and temperature are given. The emittance and reflectance results are considered as a function of solar zenith angle. Comparative radiative transfer calculations based on the discrete-ordinate method were carried out for three representative cloud phase function models: a spherical water droplet, an ice column crystal cloud, and a Henyey-Greenstein function. The agreements between observations of the effective emittance and shortwave reflectance and the model calculations were a function of the solar zenith angle. At angles between 54° and 60° a Henyey-Greenstein (HG) function with an asymmetry factor of 0.6–0.7 produced the best comparison. At 66°–72° the ice column model was equally comparable to observations. Comparisons to the water cloud model wore poor in all cases. The effects of ice crystal microphysical variations on the observed results were not generally apparent, but one dramatic example of difference was found. In order to explain the variations noted for solar zenith angle, an instrument–the Tilt Scan CCD Camera radiometer–was developed to directly observe the shortwave bidirectional reflectance function for 1991 measurements. The results indicate a characteristic angular function of the visible reflectance of cirrus that is flatter than predicted by the ice column scattering model, but the overall asymmetry factor is comparable. The good agreement with values from an HG function at some angles is not generally applicable. The characteristics of the observed cirrus angular reflectance pattern correlate well with, and are explained by, the results that were found for the solar zenith angle dependence of the eminence and reflectance.

Abstract

A summary of experimental observations and analysis of cirrus from high-altitude aircraft remote sensing is presented. The vertical distribution of cirrus optical and infrared cross-section parameters and the relative effective emittance and visible reflectance are derived from nadir-viewing lidar and multispectral radiometer data for observations during the 1986 and 1991 FIRE cirrus experiments. Statistics on scattering and absorption cross sections in relation to altitude and temperature are given. The emittance and reflectance results are considered as a function of solar zenith angle. Comparative radiative transfer calculations based on the discrete-ordinate method were carried out for three representative cloud phase function models: a spherical water droplet, an ice column crystal cloud, and a Henyey-Greenstein function. The agreements between observations of the effective emittance and shortwave reflectance and the model calculations were a function of the solar zenith angle. At angles between 54° and 60° a Henyey-Greenstein (HG) function with an asymmetry factor of 0.6–0.7 produced the best comparison. At 66°–72° the ice column model was equally comparable to observations. Comparisons to the water cloud model wore poor in all cases. The effects of ice crystal microphysical variations on the observed results were not generally apparent, but one dramatic example of difference was found. In order to explain the variations noted for solar zenith angle, an instrument–the Tilt Scan CCD Camera radiometer–was developed to directly observe the shortwave bidirectional reflectance function for 1991 measurements. The results indicate a characteristic angular function of the visible reflectance of cirrus that is flatter than predicted by the ice column scattering model, but the overall asymmetry factor is comparable. The good agreement with values from an HG function at some angles is not generally applicable. The characteristics of the observed cirrus angular reflectance pattern correlate well with, and are explained by, the results that were found for the solar zenith angle dependence of the eminence and reflectance.

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