Remote sensing of cloud liquid water

Karstens, U., Simmer, Clemens and Ruprecht, Eberhard (1994) Remote sensing of cloud liquid water Meteorology and Atmospheric Physics, 54 (1-4). pp. 157-171. DOI 10.1007/BF01030057.

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A method is presented to infer cloud liquid water path (LWP in kg/m2) over the ocean from passive microwave measurements of SSM/I. The algorithm to retrieve LWP is based on simulated satellite observations. They are calculated with a radiative transfer model applied to about 3000 radiosonde ascents over the Atlantic Ocean. Since radiosonde observations do not contain direct information about cloud water and ice, these parameters are parameterized based on relative humidity and temperature using modified adiabatic liquid water density profiles. A multiple linear regression is applied to the simulated radiances and the calculated LWP to derive the algorithm. The retrieval accuracy based on the regression analysis including instrumental noise is 0.03 kg/m2. Validation of the LWP-algorithm was pursued through a comparison with measurements of a ground-based 33 GHzmicrowave radiometer on board of R.V. “Poseidon” during the International Cirrus Experiment 1989 at the North Sea (ICE'89). The LWP values agree within the range of uncertainty caused by the different sampling characteristics of the observing systems. The retrieval accuracy for clear-sky cases determined using colocated METEOSAT data over the North Sea is 0.037 kg/m2 and confirms the accuracy estimated from regression analysis for the low liquid water cases.

The algorithm was used to derive maps of monthly mean LWP over the Atlantic Ocean. As an example the Octobers of the 5 years 1987–1991 were selected to demonstrate the interannual variability of LWP. The results were compared with the cloud water content produced by the climate model ECHAM-T2 from the Max-Planck-Institut Hamburg.

Observations during ICE'89 were used to check the accuracy of the applied radiative transfer model. Brightness temperatures were calculated from radiosonde ascents launched during the overpass of DMSP-F8 in cloud-free situations. The channel-dependent differences range from about −2 to 3 K.

The possibility to identify different cloud types using microwave and infrared observations was examined. The main conclusion is that simultaneous microwave and infrared measurements enable the separation of dense cirrus and cirrus with underlying water clouds. A classification of clouds with respect to their top heights and LWP was carried out using a combination of SSM/I derived LWP and simultaneously recorded Meteosat IR-data during ICE'89.

Document Type: Article
Keywords: Brightness Temperature; Radiative Transfer Model; Passive Microwave; Retrieval Accuracy; Cloud Liquid Water
Research affiliation: OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB1 Ocean Circulation and Climate Dynamics > FB1-ME Maritime Meteorology
Refereed: Yes
DOI etc.: 10.1007/BF01030057
ISSN: 0177-7971
Date Deposited: 17 Aug 2018 11:13
Last Modified: 17 Aug 2018 11:13

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