11th Conference on Atmospheric Radiation and the 11th Conference on Cloud Physics

Monday, 3 June 2002: 3:30 PM
Cloud Algorithm Design and Performance for the 2002 Geoscience Laser Altimeter System Mission
James D. Spinhirne, NASA/GSFC, Greenbelt, MD; and S. P. Palm, B. Hart, D. Hlavka, and A. Mahesh
A satellite borne lidar instrument, the Geoscience Laser Altimeter System (GLAS), is to be launched in late 2002 and will provide continuous profiling of atmospheric clouds and aerosol on a global basis. Data processing algorithms have been developed to provide operational data products in near real time. Basic data products for cloud observations are the height of the top and bottom of single to multiple cloud layers and the lidar calibrated observed backscatter cross section up to the level of signal attenuation. In addition the optical depth and vertical profile of visible extinction cross section of many transmissive cloud layers and most haze layers are to be derived. The optical thickness is derivable in some cases from the attenuation of the molecular scattering below cloud base. In other cases an assumption of the scattering phase function is required. In both cases a estimated correction for multiple scattering is required. The data processing algorithms have been tested in part from aircraft measurements used to simulated satellite data. The GLAS lidar observations will be made from an orbit that will allow inter comparison with all other existing satellite cloud measurements.

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