Impact of 3-D Clouds on Clear-Sky Reflectance and Aerosol Retrieval in a...

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Wen, G., A. Marshak, and B. Cahalan (2006), Impact of 3-D Clouds on Clear-Sky Reflectance and Aerosol Retrieval in a Biomass Burning Region of Brazil, IEEE Geosci. Remote Sens. Lett., 3, 169-172, doi:10.1109/LGRS.2005.861386.

Three-dimensional (3-D) cloud radiative effects on clear-sky reflectances and associated aerosol optical depth retrievals are quantified for a cumulus cloud field in a biomass burning region in Brazil through a Monte Carlo simulation. In this study the 1-km Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer cloud optical depth and surface reflectance datasets are used to compute the 3-D radiation fields with ambient aerosol optical thickness of 0.1 at a wavelength of 0.66 m. The 3-D radiative effects range from 0.015 to 0.018 with an average of 0.004 and standard deviation of 0.006. The 3-D effects are most pronounced and variable for cloud neighboring pixels, where both large negative effects over shadows and positive effects near sunlit cloud edges are found. The clear next-to-cloud pixels, that contain

83% of the clear pixel population, are affected in the most complex way and not reliable for aerosol retrieval. In the area 2 km away from clouds, the 3-D effects enhance the reflectance in clear patches. The average and variability of enhancements gradually decrease as a function of the cloud-free distance, resulting in a systematically higher aerosol optical depth estimates for pixels closer to clouds in one-dimensional (1-D) retrieval. At a distance of 3 km away from clouds, the 3-D effect is still appreciable with the average enhancement slightly less than 0.004. This enhancement will lead to an over estimate of aerosol optical thickness of 0.04 in 1-D retrieval, which is significant for an ambient atmosphere with aerosol optical thickness of 0.1.

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Research Program: 
Radiation Science Program (RSP)