Remote sensing the susceptibility of cloud albedo to changes in drop concentration.
AuthorPlatnick, Steven Edward.
AdvisorHerman, Benjamin M.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThe role of clouds in reflecting solar radiation to space and thereby reducing surface heating is of critical importance to climate. Combustion processes that produce greenhouse gases also increase cloud condensation nuclei (CCN) concentrations which in turn increase cloud drop concentrations and thereby cloud albedo. A calculation of cloud susceptibility, defined in this work as the increase in albedo resulting from the addition of one cloud drop per cubic centimeter (as cloud liquid water content remains constant), is made through satellite remote sensing of cloud drop radius and optical thickness. The remote technique uses spectral channels of the Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) instrument on board the NOAA polar orbiting satellites. Radiative transfer calculations of reflectance and effective surface and cloud emissivities are made for applicable sun and satellite viewing angles, including azimuth, at various radii and optical thicknesses for each AVHRR channel. Emission in channel 3 (at 3.75 μm) is removed to give the reflected solar component. These calculations are used to infer the radius and optical thickness giving the best match to the satellite measurements. The effect of the atmosphere on the signal received by the satellite is included in the analysis. Marine stratus clouds are a focus of this work. As well as being important modifiers to climate, they are cleaner than continental clouds and so likely to be of higher susceptibility. Analysis of several stratus scenes, including some containing ship tracks, supports this expectation.
Degree ProgramAtmospheric Sciences