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CloudSat and CALIPSO within the A-Train: Ten years of actively observing the Earth system

Abstract : One of the most successful demonstrations of an integrated approach to observe Earth from multiple perspectives is the A-Train satellite constellation (e.g. Stephens et al., 2002). The science enabled by this constellation flourished with the introduction of the two active sensors carried by the NASA CloudSat and the NASA/CNES Cloud-Aerosol Lidar and Infrared Pathfinder Satellite Observations (CALIPSO) satellites that were launched together on April 28th, 2006. These two missions have provided a 10-year demonstration of coordinated formation flying that made it possible to develop integrated products and that offered new insights on key atmospheric processes. The progress achieved over this decade of observations, summarized in this paper, clearly demonstrate the fundamental importance of the vertical structure of clouds and aerosol for understanding the influences of the larger scale atmospheric circulation on aerosol, the hydrological cycle, the cloud-scale physics and on the formation of the major storm systems of Earth. The research also underscored inherent ambiguities in radiance data in describing cloud properties and how these active systems have greatly enhanced passive observation. It is now clear that monitoring the vertical structure of clouds and aerosol is essential and a climate data record is now being constructed. These pioneering efforts are to be continued with EarthCARE mission planned for launch in 2019.
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Graeme Stephens, David M. Winker, Jacques Pelon, Charles Trepte, Deborah Vane, et al.. CloudSat and CALIPSO within the A-Train: Ten years of actively observing the Earth system. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, American Meteorological Society, 2018, 99 (3), pp.569-581. ⟨10.1175/BAMS-D-16-0324.1⟩. ⟨insu-01720298⟩



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