Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss., 13, 12725-12742, 2013
www.atmos-chem-phys-discuss.net/13/12725/2013/
doi:10.5194/acpd-13-12725-2013
© Author(s) 2013. This work is distributed
under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
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This discussion paper has been under review for the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP). Please refer to the corresponding final paper in ACP.
The impact of horizontal heterogeneities, cloud fraction, and cloud dynamics on warm cloud effective radii and liquid water path from CERES-like Aqua MODIS retrievals
D. Painemal1, P. Minnis1, and S. Sun-Mack2
1NASA Langley Research Center, Hampton, Virginia, USA
2Science System and Applications Inc., Hampton, Virginia, USA

Abstract. The impact of horizontal heterogeneities, liquid water path (LWP from AMSR-E), and cloud fraction (CF) on MODIS cloud effective radius (re), retrieved from the 2.1 μm (re2.1) and 3.8 μm (re3.8) channels, is investigated for warm clouds over the southeast Pacific. Values of re retrieved using the CERES Edition 4 algorithms are averaged at the CERES footprint resolution (~ 20 km), while heterogeneities (Hσ) are calculated as the ratio between the standard deviation and mean 0.64 μm reflectance. The value of re2.1 strongly depends on CF, with magnitudes up to 5 μm larger than those for overcast scenes, whereas re3.8 remains insensitive to CF. For cloudy scenes, both re2.1 and re3.8 increase with Hσ for any given AMSR-E LWP, but re2.1 changes more than for re3.8. Additionally, re3.8re2.1 differences are positive (< 1 μm) for homogeneous scenes (Hσ < 0.2) and LWP > 50 g m−2, and negative (up to −4 μm) for larger Hσ. Thus, re3.8re2.1 differences are more likely to reflect biases associated with cloud heterogeneities rather than information about the cloud vertical structure. The consequences for MODIS LWP are also discussed.

Citation: Painemal, D., Minnis, P., and Sun-Mack, S.: The impact of horizontal heterogeneities, cloud fraction, and cloud dynamics on warm cloud effective radii and liquid water path from CERES-like Aqua MODIS retrievals, Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss., 13, 12725-12742, doi:10.5194/acpd-13-12725-2013, 2013.
 
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