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Characterizing a New Surface-Based Shortwave Cloud Retrieval Technique, Based on Transmitted Radiance for Soil and Vegetated Surface Types

Author(s): Odele Coddington | Peter Pilewskie | K. Sebastian Schmidt | Patrick J. McBride | Tomislava Vukicevic

Journal: Atmosphere
ISSN 2073-4433

Volume: 4;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 48;
Date: 2013;
Original page

Keywords: radiation: transmission and scattering | remote sensing | clouds and aerosols | Shannon information content

This paper presents an approach using the GEneralized Nonlinear Retrieval Analysis (GENRA) tool and general inverse theory diagnostics including the maximum likelihood solution and the Shannon information content to investigate the performance of a new spectral technique for the retrieval of cloud optical properties from surface based transmittance measurements. The cumulative retrieval information over broad ranges in cloud optical thickness (τ), droplet effective radius (re), and overhead sun angles is quantified under two conditions known to impact transmitted radiation; the variability in land surface albedo and atmospheric water vapor content. Our conclusions are: (1) the retrieved cloud properties are more sensitive to the natural variability in land surface albedo than to water vapor content; (2) the new spectral technique is more accurate (but still imprecise) than a standard approach, in particular for τ between 5 and 60 and re less than approximately 20 μm; and (3) the retrieved cloud properties are dependent on sun angle for clouds of  from 5 to 10 and re < 10 μm, with maximum sensitivity obtained for an overhead sun.
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