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Atmospheric Measurement Techniques An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 6, issue 5 | Copyright
Atmos. Meas. Tech., 6, 1189-1200, 2013
© Author(s) 2013. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Research article 08 May 2013

Research article | 08 May 2013

Optical thickness and effective radius of Arctic boundary-layer clouds retrieved from airborne nadir and imaging spectrometry

E. Bierwirth1, A. Ehrlich1, M. Wendisch1, J.-F. Gayet2, C. Gourbeyre2, R. Dupuy2, A. Herber3, R. Neuber4, and A. Lampert4,* E. Bierwirth et al.
  • 1University of Leipzig, Institute for Meteorology, Leipzig, Germany
  • 2Université Blaise Pascal, Laboratoire de Météorologie Physique, Aubière, France
  • 3Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research, Bremerhaven, Germany
  • 4Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research, Potsdam, Germany
  • *now at: Institute of Aerospace Systems, TU Braunschweig, Germany

Abstract. Arctic boundary-layer clouds in the vicinity of Svalbard (78° N, 15° E) were observed with airborne remote sensing and in situ methods. The cloud optical thickness and the droplet effective radius are retrieved from spectral radiance data from the nadir spot (1.5°, 350–2100 nm) and from a nadir-centred image (40°, 400–1000 nm). Two approaches are used for the nadir retrieval, combining the signal from either two or five wavelengths. Two wavelengths are found to be sufficient for an accurate retrieval of the cloud optical thickness, while the retrieval of droplet effective radius is more sensitive to the number of wavelengths. Even with the comparison to in-situ data, it is not possible to definitely answer the question which method is better. This is due to unavoidable time delays between the in-situ measurements and the remote-sensing observations, and to the scarcity of vertical in-situ profiles within the cloud.

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