Research Spotlight: Explaining the differences between two popular ice cloud data sets


  • Mohi Kumar,

  • Ernie Tretkoff


High-altitude ice clouds play a critical role in Earth's climate system, serving both to limit the penetration of the surface by incoming solar radiation and to inhibit infrared radiation from escaping to space. Satellite-based, long-term global ice cloud remote sensing products are indispensable for understanding the radiative role of ice clouds and their proper representation in climate models. Unfortunately, retrievals from different satellite sensors often exhibit large differences in some key radiative parameters, such as ice cloud particle effective radius and optical thickness. Scientists are exploring the reasons for these differences.