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Atmospheric Measurement Techniques An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union

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Atmos. Meas. Tech., 7, 1331-1350, 2014
https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-7-1331-2014
© Author(s) 2014. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
19 May 2014
Evaluation of SCIAMACHY Oxygen A band cloud heights using Cloudnet measurements
P. Wang and P. Stammes Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI), De Bilt, the Netherlands
Abstract. Two SCIAMACHY (SCanning Imaging Absorption spectroMeter for Atmospheric CHartographY) O2 A band cloud height products are evaluated using ground-based radar/lidar measurements between January 2003 and December 2011. The products are the ESA (European Space Agency) Level 2 (L2) version 5.02 cloud top height and the FRESCO (Fast Retrieval Scheme for Clouds from the Oxygen A band) version 6 cloud height. The radar/lidar profiles are obtained at the Cloudnet sites of Cabauw and Lindenberg, and are averaged for 1 h centered at the SCIAMACHY overpass time. In total we have 217 cases of single-layer clouds and 204 cases of multilayer clouds. We find that the ESA L2 cloud top height has a better agreement with the Cloudnet cloud top height than the Cloudnet cloud middle height. The ESA L2 cloud top height is on average 0.4 km higher than the Cloudnet cloud top height, with a standard deviation of 3.1 km. The FRESCO cloud height is closer to the Cloudnet cloud middle height than the Cloudnet cloud top height. The mean difference between the FRESCO cloud height and the Cloudnet cloud middle height is −0.1 km with a standard deviation of 1.9 km. The ESA L2 cloud top height is higher than the FRESCO cloud height. The differences between the SCIAMACHY cloud (top) height and the Cloudnet cloud top height are linked to cloud optical thickness. The SCIAMACHY cloud height products are further compared to the Cloudnet cloud top height and the Cloudnet cloud middle height in 1 km bins. For single-layer clouds, the difference between the ESA L2 cloud top height and the Cloudnet cloud top height is less than 1 km for each cloud bin at 3–7 km. The difference between the FRESCO cloud height and the Cloudnet cloud middle height is less than 1 km for each cloud bin at 0–6 km. The results are similar for multilayer clouds, but the percentage of cases having a bias within 1 km is smaller than for single-layer clouds. We may conclude that the FRESCO cloud height is accurate for low and middle level clouds, whereas the ESA L2 cloud top height is more accurate for middle level clouds. Both products are less accurate for high clouds.

Citation: Wang, P. and Stammes, P.: Evaluation of SCIAMACHY Oxygen A band cloud heights using Cloudnet measurements, Atmos. Meas. Tech., 7, 1331-1350, https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-7-1331-2014, 2014.
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