17 October 2006 Cloud remote sensing from space in the era of the A-Train
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The clouds of Earth are fundamental to most aspects of human life. Through production of precipitation, they are essential for delivering and sustaining the supplies of fresh water upon which human life depends. Clouds further exert a principal influence on the planet's energy balance. It is in clouds that latent heat is released through the process of condensation and the formation of precipitation affecting the development and evolution of the planet's storm systems. Clouds further exert a profound influence on the solar and infrared radiation that enters and leaves the atmosphere, further exerting profound effects on climate and on forces that affect climate change (Stephens, 2005). It is for these reasons, among others, that the need to observe the distribution and variability of the properties of clouds and precipitation has emerged as a priority in Earth observations. Most past and current observational programs are contructed in such a way that clouds and precipitation are treated as separate entities. Nature does not work this way and there is much to be gained scientifically in moving away from these artificial practices toward observing clouds and precipitation properties jointly. We are now embarking on a new age of remote sensing of clouds and precipitation using active sensors, starting with the tropical rainfall measurement mission (TRMM) and continuing on with the A-Train (described below). This new age provides us with the opportunity to move away from past and present artificial observing practices offering a more unified approach to observing clouds and precipitation properties jointly.
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Graeme L. Stephens, Graeme L. Stephens, Deborah G. Vane, Deborah G. Vane, } "Cloud remote sensing from space in the era of the A-Train", Proc. SPIE 6359, Remote Sensing for Agriculture, Ecosystems, and Hydrology VIII, 635902 (17 October 2006); doi: 10.1117/12.714423; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.714423

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