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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 18 Dec 2018

Research article | 18 Dec 2018

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. A revision of the manuscript was accepted for the journal Atmospheric Measurement Techniques (AMT).

Footprint-scale cloud type mixtures and their impacts on Atmospheric Infrared Sounder cloud property retrievals

Alexandre Guillaume, Brian H. Kahn, Eric J. Fetzer, Qing Yue, Gerald J. Manipon, Brian D. Wilson, and Hook Hua Alexandre Guillaume et al.
  • Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, 91109, USA

Abstract. A method is described to classify cloud mixtures of cloud top types, termed cloud scenes, using cloud type classification derived from the CloudSat radar (2B-CLDCLASS). The scale dependence of those cloud scenes is studied. For spatial scales near 45 km, only 16 out of 256 possible cloud scenes account for 90 % of all observations and contain either one, two, or three cloud types. The number of possible cloud scenes is shown to depend on spatial scale with a maximum number of 194 out of 256 possible scenes at a scale of 105 km and fewer cloud scenes at smaller and larger scales. The cloud scenes are used to assess the characteristics of spatially collocated Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) thermodynamic phase and ice cloud property retrievals within scenes of varying cloud type complexity. The likelihood of ice and liquid phase detection strongly depends on the CloudSat-identified cloud scene type collocated with the AIRS footprint. Cloud scenes primarily consisting of cirrus, nimbostratus, altostratus and deep convection are dominated by ice phase detection, while stratocumulus, cumulus, and altocumulus are dominated by liquid and undetermined phase detection. Ice cloud particle size and optical thickness are largest for cloud scenes containing deep convection and cumulus, and are smallest for cirrus. Cloud scenes with multiple cloud types have small reductions in information content and slightly higher residuals of observed and modelled radiance compared to cloud scenes with single cloud types. These results will help advance the development of temperature, specific humidity, and cloud property retrievals from hyperspectral infrared sounders that include cloud microphysics in forward radiative transfer models.

Alexandre Guillaume et al.
Interactive discussion
Status: final response (author comments only)
Status: final response (author comments only)
AC: Author comment | RC: Referee comment | SC: Short comment | EC: Editor comment
Alexandre Guillaume et al.
Alexandre Guillaume et al.
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