6 October 2017 Macrophysical properties of continental cumulus clouds from active and passive remote sensing
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Abstract
Cloud amount is an essential and extensively used macrophysical parameter of cumulus clouds. It is commonly defined as a cloud fraction (CF) from zenith-pointing ground-based active and passive remote sensing. However, conventional retrievals of CF from the remote sensing data with very narrow field-of-view (FOV) may not be representative of the surrounding area. Here we assess its representativeness using an integrated dataset collected at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) program's Southern Great Plains (SGP) site in Oklahoma, USA. For our assessment with focus on selected days with single-layer cumulus clouds (2005-2016), we include the narrow-FOV ARM Active Remotely Sensed Clouds Locations (ARSCL) and large-FOV Total Sky Imager (TSI) cloud products, the 915-MHz Radar Wind Profiler (RWP) measurements of wind speed and direction, and also high-resolution satellite images from Landsat and the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS). We demonstrate that the root-mean-square difference (RMSD) between the 15-min averaged ARSCL cloud fraction (CF) and the 15-min averaged TSI fractional sky cover (FSC) is large (up to 0.3). We also discuss how the horizontal distribution of clouds can modify the obtained large RMSD using a new uniformity metric. The latter utilizes the spatial distribution of the FSC over the 100° FOV TSI images obtained with high temporal resolution (30 sec sampling). We demonstrate that cases with more uniform spatial distribution of FSC show better agreement between the narrow-FOV CF and large-FOV FSC, reducing the RMSD by up to a factor of 2.
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Evgueni Kassianov, Erin A. Riley, Jessica M. Kleiss, Charles N. Long, Laura Riihimaki, Donna Flynn, Connor Flynn, Larry K. Berg, "Macrophysical properties of continental cumulus clouds from active and passive remote sensing", Proc. SPIE 10424, Remote Sensing of Clouds and the Atmosphere XXII, 104240A (6 October 2017); doi: 10.1117/12.2278029; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2278029
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