A Simple Stochastic Model for Generating Broken Cloud Optical Depth and...

Prigarin, S. M., and A. Marshak (2009), A Simple Stochastic Model for Generating Broken Cloud Optical Depth and Cloud-Top Height Fields, J. Atmos. Sci., 66, 92-104, doi:10.1175/2008JAS2699.1.

A simple and fast algorithm for generating two correlated stochastic two-dimensional (2D) cloud fields is described. The algorithm is illustrated with two broken cumulus cloud fields: cloud optical depth and cloud-top height retrieved from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS). Only two 2D fields are required as an input. The algorithm output is statistical realizations of these two fields with approximately the same correlation and joint distribution functions as the original ones. The major assumption of the algorithm is statistical isotropy of the fields. In contrast to fractals and the Fourier filtering methods frequently used for stochastic cloud modeling, the proposed method is based on spectral models of homogeneous random fields. To retain the same probability density function as the (first) original field, the method of inverse distribution function is used. When the spatial distribution of the first field has been generated, a realization of the correlated second field is simulated using a conditional distribution matrix. This paper serves as a theoretical justification of the publicly available software “Simulation of a twocomponent cloud field,” which has been recently released. Although 2D rather than full 3D, the stochastic realizations of two correlated cloud fields that mimic statistics of given fields have proven to be very useful to study 3D radiative transfer features of broken cumulus clouds for a better understanding of shortwave radiation and the interpretation of remote sensing retrievals.

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Radiation Science Program (RSP)