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Journal of Applied Remote Sensing • Open Access

Subgrid-scale cirrus observed by lidar at mid-latitude: variability effects of the cloud optical depth
Author(s): Philippe L. Keckhut; Jean-Marie Perrin; Gérard Thuillier; Christophe Hoareau; Jacques Porteneuve; Nadege Montoux

Paper Abstract

The temporal variability of the 532-nm optical depth of cirrus clouds observed with a lidar at Observatory of Haute-Provence (43.9°N, 5.7°E, and 683-m altitude), has been analyzed. While advection dominates at the first order, variability of the optical depth on timescales of minutes can be related to spatial fluctuations of cloud properties on typical scales of a few kilometers. Log-normal distributions of the optical depth have been used to model the variability of the cirrus optical depth as observed by lidars. These investigations have been performed for three independent classes of cirrus. The log-normal distribution of the optical depth is applicable to the classes of thin clouds; however, for thick clouds, likely due to successive freezing/defreezing effects, the distribution is rather bimodal. This work compares the effects of visible solar light scattered by inhomogeneous cirrus to effects generated by homogeneous clouds having a constant geometrical thickness using the short-scale lidar observations of optical depth distribution and an analytical approach. In the case of thin cirrus, the scattering of solar light reaching the ground is stronger for inhomogeneous than homogeneous cirrus. In case of thick cirrus, multiple-scattering processes need to be considered. The conclusion is that log-normal distribution of the cirrus optical depth should be considered in any radiative calculation in case of model grids larger than a few kilometers whatever the cirrus type is.

Paper Details

Date Published: 30 July 2013
PDF: 16 pages
J. Appl. Rem. Sens. 7(1) 073530 doi: 10.1117/1.JRS.7.073530
Published in: Journal of Applied Remote Sensing Volume 7, Issue 1
Show Author Affiliations
Philippe L. Keckhut, LATMOS (France)
Jean-Marie Perrin, Observatoire de Haute-Provence (France)
Gérard Thuillier, LATMOS (France)
Christophe Hoareau, LATMOS (France)
Jacques Porteneuve, LATMOS (France)
Nadege Montoux, Univ. Blaise Pascal (France)

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