Decadal-scale variability of AIRS cloud top properties

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Tuesday, 6 January 2015: 11:15 AM
230 (Phoenix Convention Center - West and North Buildings)
Brian H. Kahn, JPL, Pasadena, CA; and T. L'Ecuyer, S. L. Nasiri, and C. M. Naud

Since the launch of EOS Aqua in May 2002, the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) has provided a nearly continuous data set of unique observations on cloud top thermodynamic phase, cloud top temperature and cloud amount, and ice cloud microphysical and optical properties with nearly daily global coverage, during both day and night, at all latitudes. The retrieval methodology of the ice cloud parameters and associated error estimation is based on an optimal estimation retrieval approach that uses observed radiances and cloud clearing-derived atmospheric profiles that define the atmospheric state, surface temperature and emissivity, and cloud top temperature as prior. We will summarize current efforts that use AIRS retrievals in the context of ENSO variability, mid-latitude cyclone composites, and a variety of other modes of natural variability. We will show that the enhanced suite of AIRS cloud products offer useful and tangible constraints for climate model development. Lastly, we will discuss the potential of extending this important climate record into the Suomi NPP era with the Cross-track Infrared Sounder (CrIS) instrument.