Cirrus cloud optical and microphysical property retrievals from eMAS during SEAC4RS using bi-spectral reflectance measurements within the 1.88 μm water vapor absorption band
Atmospheric Measurement Techniques Discussions
Previous bi-spectral imager retrievals of cloud optical thickness (COT) and effective particle radius (CER) based on the Nakajima and King (1990) approach, such as those of the operational MODIS cloud optical property retrieval product (MOD06), have typically paired a non-absorbing visible or near-infrared wavelength, sensitive to COT, with an absorbing shortwave or midwave infrared wavelength sensitive to CER. However, in practice it is only necessary to select two spectral channels that
... channels that exhibit a strong contrast in cloud particle absorption. Here it is shown, using eMAS observations obtained during NASA's SEAC<sup>4</sup>RS field campaign, that selecting two absorbing wavelength channels within the broader 1.88 μm water vapor absorption band, namely the 1.83 and 1.93 μm channels that have sufficient differences in ice crystal single scattering albedo, can yield COT and CER retrievals for thin to moderately thick single-layer cirrus that are reasonably consistent with other solar and IR imager-based and lidar-based retrievals. A distinct advantage of this channel selection for cirrus cloud retrievals is that the surface contribution to measured cloudy TOA reflectance is minimized due to below-cloud water vapor absorption, thus reducing retrieval uncertainty resulting from errors in the surface reflectance assumption, as well as reducing the frequency of retrieval failures for thin cirrus clouds.