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Atmospheric Measurement Techniques An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 09 Nov 2018

Research article | 09 Nov 2018

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Atmospheric Measurement Techniques (AMT).

Albedo-Ice regression method for determining ice water content of Polar Mesospheric Clouds using ultraviolet observations from space

Gary E. Thomas1, Jerry Lumpe2, Charles Bardeen3, and Cora E. Randall1,4 Gary E. Thomas et al.
  • 1Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics, University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, Colorado, USA
  • 2Computational Physics, Inc., Boulder, Colorado, USA
  • 3National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado, USA
  • 4Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, University of Colorado Boulder, Colorado, USA

Abstract. High spatial-resolution images of Polar Mesospheric Clouds (PMC) from a camera array onboard the Aeronomy of Ice in the Mesosphere Satellite have been obtained since 2007. The Cloud Imaging and Particle Size Experiment (CIPS) detects scattered ultraviolet (UV) radiance at a variety of scattering angles, allowing the scattering phase function to be measured for every image pixel. With well-established scattering theory, the mean particle size and ice water content (IWC) are derived. In the nominal mode of operation, approximately seven scattering angles are measured per cloud pixel. However, because of a change in the orbital geometry in 2016, a new mode of operation was implemented such that one, or at most two, scattering angles per pixel are now available. Thus particle size and IWC can no longer be derived from the standard CIPS algorithm. The Albedo-Ice Regression (AIR) method was devised to overcome this obstacle. Using data from both a microphysical model and from CIPS in its normal mode, we show that the AIR method provides sufficiently accurate average IWC so that PMC IWC can be retrieved from CIPS data into the future, even when albedo is not measured at multiple scattering angles. We also show from the model that 265nm UV scattering is sensitive only to ice particle sizes greater than about 20–25nm in (effective) radius, and that the operational CIPS algorithm has an average error in retrieving IWC of −13±17%.

Gary E. Thomas et al.
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Gary E. Thomas et al.
Gary E. Thomas et al.
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Publications Copernicus
Short summary
Polar Mesospheric Clouds are an upper atmospheric phenomenon of great interest in that they provide information about a previously inaccessible atmospheric region, the coldest of the planet. This paper provides the basis for converting raw radiance measurements of clouds, made by diverse satellite instrumentation, into a physically-based quantity, the cloud ice water content. The new algorithm allows inter-comparisons of data collected by diverse optical methods.
Polar Mesospheric Clouds are an upper atmospheric phenomenon of great interest in that they...