An imager-based multispectral retrieval of above-cloud absorbing aerosol optical depth and the optical and microphysical properties of underlying marine stratocumulus clouds

Monday, 15 December 2014: 11:50 AM
Kerry Meyer, Universities Space Research Association Greenbelt, Greenbelt, MD, United States, Steven E Platnick, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD, United States and Zhibo Zhang, University of Maryland Baltimore County, Baltimore, MD, United States
Clouds, aerosols, and their interactions are widely considered to be key uncertainty components in our current understanding of the Earth’s atmosphere and radiation budget. The work presented here is focused on the quasi-permanent marine boundary layer (MBL) clouds over the southeastern Atlantic Ocean, which underlie a near-persistent smoke layer produced from extensive biomass burning throughout the southern African savanna during austral winter. The absorption of the above-cloud smoke layer, which increases with decreasing wavelength, can introduce biases into imager-based cloud optical and microphysical property retrievals of the underlying MBL clouds. This effect is more pronounced for cloud optical thickness retrievals, which are typically derived from the visible or near-IR wavelength channels (effective particle size retrievals are derived from short and mid-wave IR channels that are less affected by aerosol absorption). Here, a new method is introduced to simultaneously retrieve the above-cloud smoke aerosol optical depth (AOD) and the unbiased cloud optical thickness (COT) and effective radius (CER) using multiple spectral channels in the visible and near- and shortwave-IR. The technique has been applied to MODIS, and retrieval results and statistics, as well as comparisons with other A-Train sensors, are shown.