The retrieval of effective particle radius and liquid water path of low-level marine clouds from NOAA AVHRR data

M. Kuji, T. Hayasaka, N. Kikuchi, T. Nakajima, M. Tanaka

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19 Citations (Scopus)


An algorithm was developed to retrieve both the optical thickness and the effective particle radius of low-level marine clouds simultaneously from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) data. The algorithm uses the combination of the visible (channel 1) and the middle-infrared (channel 3) reflected radiation. The thermal component in the middle infrared was corrected with the thermal-infrared (channel 4) radiance by a statistical technique using a regressive formula. The liquid water path (i.e., vertically integrated liquid water content) was also estimated as a by-product. The algorithm was applied to AVHRR datasets for which almost-synchronized airborne observations were conducted around the First International Satellite Cloud Climatology Project (ISCCP) Regional Experiment (FIRE) and the Western North Pacific Experiment (WENPEX) regions. The two regions are different in the characteristics of cloud fields: summer stratus and stratiform clouds that result from outbreaks of cold air mass over the warm sea in winter seasons, respectively. In the FIRE region, the retrieved parameters are almost consistent with those of in situ airborne observations, even when using a more practical approach than the algorithms adopted in previous studies, but there is still a discrepancy between the satellite-derived results and those of in situ airborne observations around the drizzle-dominated portion. In the WENPEX region, it is suggested that cloud fractional coverage in a pixel may cause error in the retrieval, particularly for horizontally inhomogeneous cloud field analyses with an assumption of a plane-parallel atmospheric model. It is found also that the thermal-infrared information has a potential to estimate the inhomogeneity of cloud fields as a result of the comparison between stratus and broken cloud cases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)999-1016
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Applied Meteorology
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2000


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