Sunday, 11 January 2009
Midlevel Cloud Properties from the A-train
Phoenix Convention Center
Uncertainties exist in relationships between cloud temperature, height, and thermodynamic phase of midlevel clouds. These cloud parameters are necessary to determine the impacts of midlevel clouds on incoming and outgoing radiation and may help to explain links between midlevel clouds and the earth's radiative energy budget. While ground-based observations typically call clouds midlevel if their cloud base is between two and six kilometers, some satellite programs, such as the International Satellite Cloud Climatology Project (ISCCP), classify clouds as midlevel if their cloud top pressure is between 680 and 440 hPa. One aspect of this project is the investigation of the feasibility and utility of classifying clouds as midlevel based on their temperature: those clouds with temperature such that their composition may be water droplets, ice crystals, or a mixture of two (mixed-phase).
This poster will show the results of a recent case study on midlevel cloud properties. The case study combines data and products from three instruments in the NASA A-train satellite constellation: the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS), the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS), and the Cloud-Aerosol Lidar and Infrared Pathfinder Satellite Observation (CALIPSO) satellite. The A-train orbit pattern provides near time-synchronous information, where multiple instruments are able to observe a particular scene within a few minutes of each other. As a result, MODIS, AIRS, and CALIPSO deliver unique data sets and products that will be shaped into a solid case study.