34th Conference on Radar Meteorology


Vertical Profiling of Clouds and Atmospheric Radiative Heating

Tristan S. L'Ecuyer, Colorado State Univ., Fort Collins, CO; and N. B. Wood and G. L. Stephens

Among the largest uncertainties in quantifying the radiative impacts of clouds are those that arise from the inherent difficulty in precisely specifying the vertical distribution of cloud optical properties using passive satellite measurements. Carrying the first millimeter-wavelength cloud radar to be flown in space, CloudSat is uniquely suited to addressing this problem providing near global estimates of cloud water content and particle size at unprecedented vertical resolution. The CloudSat radiative fluxes and heating rates product leverages this information to infer high vertical resolution profiles of longwave and shortwave radiative fluxes and atmospheric heating rates on the global scale. This presentation will describe the underlying physical basis for relating observed W-band reflectivities to profiles of atmospheric heating, summarize early efforts to evaluate the products, and highlight preliminary findings from the analysis of the first three years of CloudSat data. Emphasis will be placed on the problem of assessing the varying impacts of clouds with different morphologies on the vertical distribution of radiative heating in the atmosphere over different regions of the globe.

Session 7B, Clouds and Radiation
Tuesday, 6 October 2009, 4:00 PM-6:00 PM, Room 18

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