Combining the Perspective of Satellite- and Ground-Based Observations to Analyze Cloud Frontal Systems
Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology
A method is presented to analyze the cloud life cycle of frontal systems passing over European supersites. It combines information on the vertical profiles of cloud properties derived from ground-based observations with cloud products obtained from satellite-based observations, including their spatial variability. The Euler and Lagrange perspectives are adopted to consider the history of a cloud system that passes the supersites. The forward model known as RTTOV (Radiative Transfer for the
... ision and Infrared Observation Satellite Operational Vertical Sounder) and the ground-based "CloudNET" products are used to simulate synthetic satellite observations at the supersites, which are subsequently compared with the actual observations of the Meteosat Spinning Enhanced Visible and Infrared Imager (SEVIRI) instrument. Different metrics are considered to quantify and interpret the consistency of the synthetic and the observed satellite data: brightness temperatures at the thermal IR channels, the split-window channels, and trispectral combinations, as well as the outgoing longwave radiation. In this way, the uncertainties of the individual datasets are investigated. This knowledge provides the motivation to combine the disjunct cloud products from satellite with those from ground instruments to characterize the development of the passing cloud frontal systems. In addition, back trajectories started at different stages of the cloud system were used to analyze its history prior to the supersite overpass. The trajectories are used to study, for example, the life time of the cloud frontal system, changes of the cloud phase, and the evolution of cloud physics such as optical thickness, effective particle size, and water path. As a test bed, a case study with a cold front passing Lindenberg, Germany, is presented.