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Atmospheric Measurement Techniques An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-2019-223
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-2019-223
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 05 Sep 2019

Submitted as: research article | 05 Sep 2019

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

Assessment of cloud properties from the reanalysis with satellite observations over East Asia

Bin Yao1,2, Chao Liu1,2, Yan Yin1,2, Zhiquan Liu3, Chunxiang Shi4, Hironobu Iwabuchi5, and Fuzhong Weng6 Bin Yao et al.
  • 1Collaborative Innovation Centeron Forecast and Evaluation of Meteorological Disasters, Nanjing University of Information Science &Technology, Nanjing 210044, China
  • 2Key Laboratory for Aerosol-Cloud-Precipitation of China Meteorological Administration, School of Atmospheric Physic, Nanjing University of Information Science &Technology, Nanjing210044, China
  • 3National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO 80301, USA
  • 4National Meteorological Information Center, China Meteorological Administration (CMA), Beijing 100081, China
  • 5Center for Atmospheric and Oceanic Studies, Graduate School of Science, Tohoku University, Sendai, Miyagi 980-8578, Japan
  • 6Chinese Academy of MeteorologicalSciences, Beijing 100081, China

Abstract. Extensive observational and numerical investigations have been performed to better characterize cloud properties. However, due to the large variations of cloud spatiotemporal distributions and physical properties, quantitative depictions of clouds in different atmospheric reanalysis datasets are still highly uncertain, and cloud parameters in the models to produce those datasets remain largely unconstrained. A radiance-based evaluation approach is introduced and performed to assess the quality of cloud properties by directly comparing reanalysis-driven forward radiative transfer results with radiances from satellite observation. The newly developed China Meteorological Administration Reanalysis data (CRA), the ECMWF’s Fifth-generation Reanalysis (ERA5), and the Modern-Era Retrospective Analysis for Applications, Version 2 (MERRA-2) are considered in the present study. To avoid the unrealistic assumptions and uncertainties on satellite retrieval algorithms and products, the radiative transfer model (RTM) is used as a bridge to “translate” the reanalysis to corresponding satellite observations. The simulated reflectance and brightness temperatures (BTs) are directly compared with observations from the Advanced Himawari Imager (AHI) onboard the Himawari-8 satellite in the region from 80° E to 160° W between 60° N and 60° S, especially for results over East Asia. Comparisons of the reflectance in the solar and BTs in the infrared (IR) window channels reveal that CRA reanalysis better represents the total cloud cover than the other two reanalysis datasets. The simulated BTs for CRA and ERA5 are close to each other in many pixels, whereas the vertical distributions of cloud properties are significantly different, and ERA5 depicts a better deep convection structure than CRA reanalysis. Comparisons of the BT differences (BTDs) between the simulations and observations suggest that the water clouds are generally overestimated in ERA5 and MERRA-2, whereas the ice cloud is responsible for the overestimation over the center of cyclones in ERA5. Overall, the cloud from CRA, ERA5, and MERRA-2 show their own advantages in different aspects. The ERA5 reanalysis is found the most capability in representing the cloudy atmosphere over East Asia, and the results in CRA are close to those in ERA5.

Bin Yao et al.
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Short summary
Due to the complex spatiotemporal and physical properties of clouds, their quantitative depictions in different atmospheric reanalysis datasets are still highly uncertain. A radiance-based evaluation approach is developed to evaluate the quality of cloud properties by directly comparing with satellite radiance observations. The ERA5 and CRA are found great capability in representing the cloudy atmosphere over East Asia, and the MERRA-2 tends to slightly overestimate clouds over the region.
Due to the complex spatiotemporal and physical properties of clouds, their quantitative...
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