Infrared Retrievals of Ice Cloud Properties and Uncertainties with an Optimal Estimation Retrieval Method

Tuesday, 16 December 2014: 2:55 PM
Chenxi Wang, University of Maryland College Park, College Park, MD, United States, Steven E Platnick, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD, United States, Kerry Meyer, Universities Space Research Association Greenbelt, Greenbelt, MD, United States and Zhibo Zhang, University of Maryland Baltimore County, Baltimore, MD, United States
We developed an optimal estimation (OE)-based method using infrared (IR) observations to retrieve ice cloud optical thickness (COT), cloud effective radius (CER), and cloud top height (CTH) simultaneously. The OE-based retrieval is coupled with a fast IR radiative transfer model (RTM) that simulates observations of different sensors, and corresponding Jacobians in cloudy atmospheres. Ice cloud optical properties are calculated using the MODIS Collection 6 (C6) ice crystal habit (severely roughened hexagonal column aggregates). The OE-based method can be applied to various IR space-borne and airborne sensors, such as the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) and the enhanced MODIS Airborne Simulator (eMAS), by optimally selecting IR bands with high information content.

Four major error sources (i.e., the measurement error, fast RTM error, model input error, and pre-assumed ice crystal habit error) are taken into account in our OE retrieval method. We show that measurement error and fast RTM error have little impact on cloud retrievals, whereas errors from the model input and pre-assumed ice crystal habit significantly increase retrieval uncertainties when the cloud is optically thin. Comparisons between the OE-retrieved ice cloud properties and other operational cloud products (e.g., the MODIS C6 and CALIOP cloud products) are shown.