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Detecting the Ratio of Rain and Cloud Water in Low-Latitude Shallow Marine...

Lebsock, M., T. L'Ecuyer, and G. L. Stephens (2011), Detecting the Ratio of Rain and Cloud Water in Low-Latitude Shallow Marine Clouds, J. Appl. Meteor. Climat., 50, 419-432, doi:10.1175/2010JAMC2494.1.

Satellite observations are used to deduce the relationship between cloud water and precipitation water for low-latitude shallow marine clouds. The specific sensors that facilitate the analysis are the collocated CloudSat profiling radar and the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS). The separation of the cloud water and precipitation water signals relies on the relative insensitivity of MODIS to the presence of precipitation water in conjunction with estimates of the path-integrated attenuation of the CloudSat radar beam while explicitly accounting for the effect of precipitation water on the observed MODIS optical depth. Variations in the precipitation water path are shown to be associated with both the cloud water path and the cloud effective radius, suggesting both macrophysical and microphysical controls on the production of precipitation water. The method outlined here is used to place broad bounds on the mean relationship between the precipitation water path and the cloud water path in shallow marine clouds, given certain clearly stated assumptions. The ratio of precipitation water to cloud water is shown to increase from zero at low cloud water path values to roughly 0.5 at 500 g m22 of cloud water. The retrieval results further show that the median influence of precipitation on the observed optical depth increases monotonically with optical depth varying between 1% and 5% at 500 g m22 of cloud water with the source of the uncertainty deriving from the assumption of the nature of the precipitation drop size distribution.

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