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Proceedings Paper

Potential biases in remotely sensed cloud properties due to the plane parallel cloud assumption employed in retrieval algorithms
Author(s): William O'Hirok; Catherine H. Gautier
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Paper Abstract

Algorithms developed to estimate cloud optical properties from satellite observations are based on radiative transfer models that assume clouds to be plane-parallel homogeneous entities. In this study, the effect of the plane-parallel assumption on the retrieval of cloud optical thickness and effective particle radius is examined through the use of a three- dimensional (3-D) radiative transfer model. Satellite observed radiances are simulated for 3-D stratus and convective cloud fields. Optical properties are retrieved from these fields and compared to the known inputs. Results show that for the stratus field the plane-parallel assumption is reasonable for most solar and viewing geometries. However, for a combination of a high solar zenith angle and a viewing angle towards the sun the bias becomes significant at high spatial resolutions. In contrast, retrieving cloud properties for the convective cloud at any spatial scale is not possible using the plane- parallel assumption.

Paper Details

Date Published: 8 December 1999
PDF: 9 pages
Proc. SPIE 3867, Satellite Remote Sensing of Clouds and the Atmosphere IV, (8 December 1999); doi: 10.1117/12.373055
Show Author Affiliations
William O'Hirok, Univ. of California/Santa Barbara (United States)
Catherine H. Gautier, Univ. of California/Santa Barbara (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 3867:
Satellite Remote Sensing of Clouds and the Atmosphere IV
Jaqueline E. Russell, Editor(s)

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