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A comparison of Aqua MODIS ice and liquid water cloud physical and optical...

Yi, B., A. Rapp, P. Yang, B. A. Baum, and M. D. King (2017), A comparison of Aqua MODIS ice and liquid water cloud physical and optical properties between collection 6 and collection 5.1: Cloud radiative effects, J. Geophys. Res., 122, 4550-4564, doi:10.1002/2016JD025654.

In our companion study, we show how cloud property products change from MODIS (Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer) collection 5.1 (C51) to collection 6 (C6) for both ice and liquid water clouds through a pixel-to-pixel comparison. However, the question remains as to the full impacts of these cloud property differences between collections on the inference of cloud radiative effects (CREs). In this study, we address this question from a modeling perspective using one year (2012) of MODIS gridded annual-averaged ice/liquid water cloud properties at 0.5° × 0.5° spatial resolution. The rapid radiative transfer model for general circulation model applications is used to simulate the broadband radiative fluxes at the top of the atmosphere under clear-sky and cloudy-sky conditions. The shortwave, longwave, and net radiative effects of ice, liquid water, and total clouds are derived individually assuming different cloud optical property parameterization schemes. The results provide quantifications of ice and liquid water CRE contributions to the total CRE. We find significant differences in the simulated CREs between C6 and C51 for ice clouds (up to 23 W m2 for the shortwave CRE) and liquid water clouds (approximately 4.5 W m2 for the shortwave CRE). The C6 total CRE provides the closest match with the Clouds and the Earth’s Radiant Energy System Energy Balanced And Filled product. Sensitivity studies are performed to estimate the impacts of different ice optical parameterization schemes and multilayer cloud overlap assumptions. Results show that the C6–C51 CRE differences are larger than the CRE variations caused by the other factors.

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Radiation Science Program (RSP)