Vertical profile of cloud optical parameters derived from airborne

Melnikova, I., and C. Gatebe (2018), Vertical profile of cloud optical parameters derived from airborne, J. Quant. Spectrosc. Radiat. Transfer, 214, 39-60.

Past strategies for retrieving cloud optical properties from remote sensing assumed significant limits for desired parameters such as semi-infinite optical thickness, single scattering albedo equaling unity (nonabsorbing scattering), absence of spectral dependence of the optical thickness, etc., and only one optical parameter could be retrieved (either optical thickness or single scattering albedo). Here, we demonstrate a new method based on asymptotic theory for thick atmospheres, and the presence of a diffusion domain within the clouds that does not put restrictions and makes it possible to get two or even three optical parameters (optical thickness, single scattering albedo and phase function asymmetry parameter) for every wavelength independently. We applied this method to measurements of angular distribution of solar radiation above, inside and below clouds, obtained with NASA’s Cloud Absorption Radiometer (CAR) over two cases of marine stratocumulus clouds; first case, offshore of Namibia and the second case, offshore of California. The observational and retrieval errors are accounted for by regularization, which allows stable and smooth solutions. Results show good potential for parameterization of the shortwave radiative properties (reflection, transmission, radiative divergence and heating rate) of water clouds.

Research Program: 
Atmospheric Composition
Radiation Science Program (RSP)