1Key Laboratory for Semi-Arid Climate Change of the Ministry of Education College of Atmospheric Sciences, Lanzhou University, Lanzhou, 730000, China
2Dept. of Physics and Engineering, Stevens Institute of Tech., Hoboken, NJ, USA
3Climate Science Branch, NASA Langley Research Center, Hampton, VA, USA
4Science Systems and Applications Inc., Hampton, VA 23666, USA
Abstract. A method is developed based on Cloud-Aerosol Lidar and Infrared Pathfinder Satellite Observations (CALIPSO) level 1 attenuated backscatter profile data for deriving the mean extinction coefficient of water droplets close to cloud top. The method is applicable to low level (cloud top < 2 km), opaque water clouds in which the lidar signal is completely attenuated beyond about 100 m of penetration into the cloud. The photo multiplier tubes (PMTs) of 532 nm detectors (parallel and perpendicular polarizations) of Cloud-Aerosol Lidar with Orthogonal Polarization (CALIOP) both exhibit a non-ideal recovery of the lidar signal after striking a strongly backscattering target (such as water cloud or surface). Therefore, the effects of any transient responses of CALIOP on the attenuated backscatter profile of the water cloud must first be removed in order to obtain a reliable (validated) attenuated backscatter profile. Then, the slope of the exponential decay of the validated water cloud attenuated backscatter profile, and the multiple scattering factor are used for deriving the mean extinction coefficient of low-level water cloud droplets close to cloud top. This novel method was evaluated and compared with the previous method by combining the cloud effective radius (3.7 μm) reported by MODIS with the lidar depolarization ratios measured by CALIPSO to estimate the mean extinction coefficient. Statistical results show that the extinction coefficients derived by the new method based on CALIOP alone agree reasonably well with those obtained in the previous study using combined CALIOP and MODIS data. Their mean absolute relative difference in extinction coefficient is about 13.4%. An important advantage of the new method is that it can be used to derive the extinction coefficient also during night time, and it is also applicable when multi-layered clouds are present. Overall, the global mean cloud water extinction coefficients during different seasons range from 26.17 to 29.46 km−1, and the differences between day and night time all are small (about 1 km−1). However, the global mean layer-integrated depolarization ratios of water cloud during different seasons range from 0.2 to 0.23, and the differences between day and night also are small, about 0.01.