GOES-10 microphysical retrievals in marine warm clouds: Multi-instrument validation and daytime cycle over the southeast Pacific


Corresponding author: D. Painemal, NASA Langley Research Center, Hampton, VA 23681, USA. (


[1] The daytime evolution of warm cloud microphysical properties over the southeast Pacific during October–November 2008 is investigated with optical/infrared retrievals from the Tenth Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES-10) imager. GOES-10 retrievals, produced at NASA Langley Research Center, are validated against in situ aircraft observations and with independent satellite observations. Comparisons with in situ observations reveal high linear correlations (r) for cloud effective radius (re) and optical thickness (τ) (r = 0.89 and 0.69 respectively); nevertheless, a GOES-10 positive mean re bias of 2.3 μm is apparent, and consistent with other previously reported satellite biases. Smaller biases are found for liquid water path (LWP) and an adiabatic-based cloud droplet number concentration (Nd), both variables derived by combining re and τ.In addition, GOES-10 observations are well correlated with their Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) counterparts, but with smaller biases and root-mean-square errors for the Aqua satellite passes, arguably associated with a better calibrated MODIS-Aqua instrument relative to MODIS-Terra. Furthermore, the excellent agreement between GOES-10 LWP and microwave-based satellite retrievals, especially at high solar zenith angles (>60°), provide further evidence of the utility of using GOES-10 retrievals to represent the daytime cloud cycle. In terms of the daytime cycle, GOES-10 observations show an afternoon minimum in LWP and an increase thereafter, consistent with satellite microwave climatologies. Theτ cycle explains most of the LWP variance with both variables in phase, minima near noon along the coast, and a 13:30–14:00 local solar time (LST) minimum offshore. In contrast, re is not exactly in phase with LWP and τ, having a minimum approximately at 12:30 LST throughout the domain. A unique feature is a striking re maximum along the coast at 16:15 LST, concomitant with a faster τ recovery. An explanation for a coastal reafternoon maximum is lacking although this is consistent with an enhancement of the updraft velocity reported in previous modeling studies. Finally, the GOES-derived Nd (Ndτ1/2 re−5/2) shows a complex daytime cycle with maxima at 7:15 and 13:15 LST. While the first maximum is driven by large τ, the second one is mainly explained by a minimum in re.