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Validation of the Aura MLS cloud ice water content measurements

Wu, D. L., J. H. Jiang, W. G. Read, R. T. Austin, C. P. Davis, A. Lambert, G. L. Stephens, D. G. Vane, and J. W. Waters (2008), Validation of the Aura MLS cloud ice water content measurements, J. Geophys. Res., 113, D15S10, doi:10.1029/2007JD008931.

Retrieval and validation of upper tropospheric ice water content (IWC) measurements with the Aura Microwave Limb Sounder (MLS) are described. The MLS version 2.2 (V2.2) IWC, derived from 240-GHz cloud-induced radiances (Tcir) at high tangent heights, is scientifically useful at 215–83 hPa. The V2.2 IWC represents a bulk cloud property averaged over a ~300 × 7 × 4 km3 volume near the pointing tangent height. Precision, accuracy, and spatial resolution of the V2.2 IWC are determined through model simulations and comparisons with CloudSat observations. Comparisons of MLS V2.2 and CloudSat R03 IWCs are made for the months of January and July in terms of normalized probability density function (PDF). The differences between MLS and CloudSat IWC PDFs are generally less than 50% over the IWC range where the MLS technique is valid. At pressures <177 hPa and extratropical latitudes, the MLS V2.2 IWC exhibits a slightly low bias compared to CloudSat, part of which can be attributed to systematic errors in the MLS retrieval. Cloud inhomogeneity and particle size distribution are the leading sources of uncertainties in the V2.2 IWC.

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