Improvement in thin cirrus retrievals using an emissivity-adjusted CO2 slicing algorithm


  • Hong Zhang,

    1. Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies, Space Science and Engineering Center, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, Wisconsin, USA
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  • W. Paul Menzel

    1. Office of Research and Applications, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration National Environmental Satellite Data and Information Service, Madison, Wisconsin, USA
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[1] CO2 slicing has been generally accepted as a useful algorithm for determining cloud top pressure (CTP) and effective cloud amount (ECA) for tropospheric clouds above 600 hPa. To date, the technique has assumed that the surface emissivity is that of a blackbody in the long-wavelength infrared radiances and that the cloud emissivities in spectrally close bands are approximately equal. The modified CO2 slicing algorithm considers adjustments of both surface emissivity and cloud emissivity ratio. Surface emissivity is adjusted according to the surface types. The ratio of cloud emissivities in spectrally close bands is adjusted away from unity according to radiative transfer calculations. The new CO2 slicing algorithm is examined with Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) Airborne Simulator (MAS) CO2 band radiance measurements over thin clouds and validated against Cloud Lidar System (CLS) measurements of the same clouds; it is also applied to Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) Sounder data to study the overall impact on cloud property determinations. For high thin clouds an improved product emerges, while for thick and opaque clouds there is little change. For very thin clouds, the CTP increases by about 10–20 hPa and RMS (root mean square bias) difference is approximately 50 hPa; for thin clouds, the CTP increase is about 10 hPa bias and RMS difference is approximately 30 hPa. The new CO2 slicing algorithm places the clouds lower in the troposphere.