Primary tabs


Disclaimer: This material is being kept online for historical purposes. Though accurate at the time of publication, it is no longer being updated. The page may contain broken links or outdated information, and parts may not function in current web browsers. Visit for information about our current projects.


Retrieval of Ice Cloud Optical Thickness and Effective Particle Size Using a...

Wang, C., P. Yang, B. A. Baum, S. Platnick, Andrew Heidinger, Y. Hu, and R. E. Holz (2011), Retrieval of Ice Cloud Optical Thickness and Effective Particle Size Using a Fast Infrared Radiative Transfer Model, J. Appl. Meteor. Climat., 50, 2283-2297, doi:10.1175/JAMC-D-11-067.1.

A computationally efficient radiative transfer model (RTM) is developed for the inference of ice cloud optical thickness and effective particle size from satellite-based infrared (IR) measurements and is aimed at potential use in operational cloud-property retrievals from multispectral satellite imagery. The RTM employs precomputed lookup tables to simulate the top-of-the-atmosphere (TOA) radiances (or brightness temperatures) at 8.5-, 11-, and 12-mm bands. For the clear-sky atmosphere, the optical thickness of each atmospheric layer resulting from gaseous absorption is derived from the correlated-k-distribution method. The cloud reflectance, transmittance, emissivity, and effective temperature are precomputed using the Discrete Ordinate Radiative Transfer model (DISORT). For an atmosphere containing a semitransparent ice cloud layer with a visible optical thickness t smaller than 5, the TOA brightness temperature differences (BTDs) between the fast model and the more rigorous DISORT results are less than 0.1 K, whereas the BTDs are less than 0.01 K if t is larger than 10. With the proposed RTM, the cloud optical and microphysical properties are retrieved from collocated observations from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) and Cloud-Aerosol Lidar with Orthogonal Polarization (CALIOP) in conjunction with the Modern Era Retrospective-Analysis for Research and Applications (MERRA) data. Comparisons between the retrieved ice cloud properties (optical thickness and effective particle size) based on the present IR fast model and those from the Aqua/MODIS operational collection-5 cloud products indicate that the IR retrievals are smaller. A comparison between the IR-retrieved ice water path (IWP) and CALIOP-retrieved IWP shows robust agreement over most of the IWP range.

PDF of Publication: 
Download from publisher's website.
Research Program: 
Radiation Science Program (RSP)