The objective of our study is the retrieval of photon path length distributions for various atmospheric cloud situations which will lead to a better understanding of the influence of clouds on the atmospheric radiative transport. Following principles from ground based photon path length retrieval (Funk et al., 2003), our research uses the combination of space based measurements of the oxygen A-band and radiative transfer simulations.
The experimental spectra originate from the Japanese Greenhouse gases Observing SATellite (GOSAT), more precisely the Fourier Transform Spectrometer TANSO-FTS. Its high spectral resolution allows to almost completely resolve the individual absorption lines which is a prerequisite to our study. The Monte Carlo radiative transfer model McArtim (Deutschmann et al., 2011) is used to model the measured spectra. This model allows user-defined input for the altitude dependent cross sections and furthermore the incorporation of three dimensional cloud shapes and properties. From the simulation output and the observation geometry, photon path length distributions can be obtained.
Distributions of photon path lengths will be presented for a selection of GOSAT observations of cloud covered atmospheres.