SEARCH

SEARCH BY CITATION

Keywords:

  • cloud;
  • satellite;
  • climatology

[1] This article presents the GCM-Oriented Cloud-Aerosol Lidar and Infrared Pathfinder Satellite Observation (CALIPSO) Cloud Product (GOCCP) designed to evaluate the cloudiness simulated by general circulation models (GCMs). For this purpose, Cloud-Aerosol Lidar with Orthogonal Polarization L1 data are processed following the same steps as in a lidar simulator used to diagnose the model cloud cover that CALIPSO would observe from space if the satellite was flying above an atmosphere similar to that predicted by the GCM. Instantaneous profiles of the lidar scattering ratio (SR) are first computed at the highest horizontal resolution of the data but at the vertical resolution typical of current GCMs, and then cloud diagnostics are inferred from these profiles: vertical distribution of cloud fraction, horizontal distribution of low, middle, high, and total cloud fractions, instantaneous SR profiles, and SR histograms as a function of height. Results are presented for different seasons (January–March 2007–2008 and June–August 2006–2008), and their sensitivity to parameters of the lidar simulator is investigated. It is shown that the choice of the vertical resolution and of the SR threshold value used for cloud detection can modify the cloud fraction by up to 0.20, particularly in the shallow cumulus regions. The tropical marine low-level cloud fraction is larger during nighttime (by up to 0.15) than during daytime. The histograms of SR characterize the cloud types encountered in different regions. The GOCCP high-level cloud amount is similar to that from the TIROS Operational Vertical Sounder (TOVS) and the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS). The low-level and middle-level cloud fractions are larger than those derived from passive remote sensing (International Satellite Cloud Climatology Project, Moderate-Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer–Cloud and Earth Radiant Energy System Polarization and Directionality of Earth Reflectances, TOVS Path B, AIRS–Laboratoire de Météorologie Dynamique) because the latter only provide information on the uppermost cloud layer.