Comparisons and analyses of aircraft and satellite observations for wintertime...

Noh, Y., C. J. Seaman, Vonder Haar, D. R. Hudak, and P. Rodriguez (2011), Comparisons and analyses of aircraft and satellite observations for wintertime mixed‐phase clouds, J. Geophys. Res., 116, D18207, doi:10.1029/2010JD015420.

This work presents a study of midlevel, mixed‐phase clouds using satellite (remote sensing) and aircraft (in situ) observations. In this study, we analyze coincident multisatellite and in situ aircraft measurements of three mixed‐phase cloud cases during an intensive field experiment (C3VP/CLEX‐10) to better understand the microphysics and radiative properties and provide a foundation for the improvement of the satellite retrieval algorithms for these clouds. For the selected cases, various aspects observed from different instruments are presented and compared for these clouds. It is found that many areas in the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) cloud phase product classified as “unknown” are more appropriately classified as “mixed phase” based on CloudSat and CALIPSO data as well as C3VP/CLEX‐10 aircraft measurements. The aircraft measurements show that a significant amount of supercooled liquid water exists at or near cloud top at very low temperatures for these midlevel, mixed‐phase clouds, contrary to the assumptions used in the CloudSat retrieval algorithms. The spatial distribution of liquid water content and ice water content and other cloud properties are examined for both the satellite remote sensing and in situ probe measurements. CloudSat and airborne radar reflectivity data are also compared through a structure function analysis. Radiative transfer simulations based on the aircraft and satellite observations indicate the importance of proper assignment of cloud phase within retrieval algorithms and numerical models, which use similar assumptions.

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