Marine boundary layer cloud property retrievals from high-resolution ASTER...

Werner, F., G. Wind, Z. Zhang, S. Platnick, L. Di Girolamo, G. Zhao, N. D. Amarasinghe, and K. G. Meyer (2016), Marine boundary layer cloud property retrievals from high-resolution ASTER observations: case studies and comparison with Terra MODIS, Atmos. Meas. Tech., 9, 5869-5894, doi:10.5194/amt-9-5869-2016.

A research-level retrieval algorithm for cloud optical and microphysical properties is developed for the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) aboard the Terra satellite. It is based on the operational MODIS algorithm. This paper documents the technical details of this algorithm and evaluates the retrievals for selected marine boundary layer cloud scenes through comparisons with the operational MODIS Data Collection 6 (C6) cloud product. The newly developed, ASTERspecific cloud masking algorithm is evaluated through comparison with an independent algorithm reported in Zhao and Di Girolamo (2006). To validate and evaluate the cloud optical thickness (τ ) and cloud effective radius (reff ) from ASTER, the high-spatial-resolution ASTER observations are first aggregated to the same 1000 m resolution as MODIS. Subsequently, τaA and reff, aA retrieved from the aggregated ASTER radiances are compared with the collocated MODIS retrievals. For overcast pixels, the two data sets agree very well with Pearson’s product-moment correlation coefficients of R > 0.970. However, for partially cloudy pixels there are significant differences between reff, aA and the MODIS results which can exceed 10 µm. Moreover, it is shown that the numerous delicate cloud structures in the example marine boundary layer scenes, resolved by the high-resolution ASTER retrievals, are smoothed by the MODIS observations. The overall good agreement between the research-level ASTER results and the operational MODIS C6 products proves the feasibility of MODIS-like retrievals from ASTER reflectance measurements and provides the basis for future studies concerning the scale dependency of satellite observations and three-dimensional radiative effects.

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Radiation Science Program (RSP)