Improving cloud optical property retrievals for partly cloudy pixels using coincident higher‐resolution single band measurements: A feasibility study using ASTER observations
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Type of Work66 pages
journal articles post-print
Citation of Original PublicationF. Werner , Z. Zhang , G. Wind, D. J. Miller, S. Platnick, L. Di Girolamo, Improving cloud optical property retrievals for partly cloudy pixels using coincident higher‐resolution single band measurements: A feasibility study using ASTER observations, Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres/ Volume 0, Issue ja, 2018, https://doi.org/10.1029/2018JD028902
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Clear‐sky contamination is a challenging and long‐lasting problem for cloud optical thickness (τ) and effective droplet radius (rₑ𝒻𝒻) retrievals using passive satellite sensors. This study explores the feasibility of improving both _ and rₑ𝒻𝒻retrievals for partly cloudy (PCL) pixels by using available subpixel samples in a visible to near‐infrared (VNIR) band, which many satellite sensors offer. Data is provided by high‐resolution reflectance (R) observations and cloud property retrievals by the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) at horizontal resolutions between 30‐960m. For partly cloudy 960‐m observations, the clear‐sky component of the pixels induces significant underestimations of up to 58% for τ, while overestimations in rₑ𝒻𝒻 can exceed 41%. This yields underestimations in the derived liquid water path and cloud droplet number concentration of up to 68% and 72%, respectively. By means of three different assumptions it is shown that subpixel R observations in the VNIR can be used to estimate higher‐resolution R for the second band in the retrieval scheme, as well as the subpixel cloud cover. The estimated values compare well to actually observed ASTER results and are used to retrieve cloud properties, which are unbiased by the clear‐sky component of PCL pixels. While the presented retrieval approach is only evaluated for marine boundary layer clouds, it is computationally efficient and can be easily applied to observations from different imagers. As an example, the PCL retrieval scheme is applied to data by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS), where similar biases for PCL pixels are observed.