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Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres

CalNex cloud properties retrieved from a ship-based spectrometer and comparisons with satellite and aircraft retrieved cloud properties

Authors

  • P. J. McBride,

    Corresponding author
    1. Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics, University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, Colorado, USA
    2. Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, Colorado, USA
    • Corresponding author: P. J. McBride, Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics, University of Colorado Boulder, 392 Campus Box, Boulder, CO 80309, USA. (mcbridep@colorado.edu)

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  • K. S. Schmidt,

    1. Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics, University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, Colorado, USA
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  • P. Pilewskie,

    1. Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics, University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, Colorado, USA
    2. Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, Colorado, USA
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  • A. Walther,

    1. Office of Research and Applications, National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Madison, Wisconsin, USA
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  • A. K. Heidinger,

    1. Office of Research and Applications, National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Madison, Wisconsin, USA
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  • D. E. Wolfe,

    1. Physical Sciences Division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Boulder, Colorado, USA
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  • C. W. Fairall,

    1. Physical Sciences Division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Boulder, Colorado, USA
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  • S. Lance

    1. Chemical Sciences Division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Boulder, Colorado, USA
    2. Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, Colorado, USA
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Abstract

[1] An algorithm to retrieve cloud optical thickness and effective radius (reff) from spectral transmittance was applied to radiance and irradiance observations of the Solar Spectral Flux Radiometer (SSFR) during the Research at the Nexus of Air Quality and Climate Change Campaign (CalNex). Data from an overcast day, 16 May 2010, was used to validate the algorithm. Retrievals from the SSFR, deployed on the Woods Hole Oceanic Institute R/V Atlantis, were compared to retrievals made from an airborne SSFR, the Geostationary Operations Environmental Satellite (GOES), an Atlantis-based microwave radiometer, and the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer. In situ observations of reffduring a flight over the Atlantis were compared to the Atlantis SSFR and GOES retrievals. The cloud statistics for the CalNex campaign were compared to previous studies. The agreement between the different retrievals, quantified by determining the number of coincident observations when retrieval uncertainty overlapped, improved as the difference between the field-of-views (FOV) of the instruments decreased. It is shown that averaging the 1 Hz SSFR observations to the 15 minute GOES interval cannot fully account for the impact of the different FOVs. The average in situ reff (7.7 μm) fell between the average reffretrieved using the Atlantis-based SSFR radiance (5.7μm) and irradiance (9.5 μm). The CalNex clouds showed a diurnal pattern observed in previous studies of marine boundary layer clouds in the region. The distribution of cloud optical thickness and liquid water path during CalNex was shown to be a gamma distribution, consistent with previous studies of high cloud fraction marine boundary layer clouds.

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