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Comparison of scattering ratio profiles retrieved from ALADIN/Aeolus and CALIOP/CALIPSO observations and preliminary estimates of cloud fraction profiles

Abstract : The space-borne active sounders have been contributing invaluable vertically resolved information of atmospheric optical properties since the launch of Cloud Aerosol Lidar and Infrared Pathfinder Satellite Observation (CALIPSO) in 2006. To build long-term records from space-borne lidars useful for climate studies, one has to understand the differences between successive space lidars operating at different wavelengths, flying on different orbits, and using different viewing geometries, receiving paths, and detectors. In this article, we compare the results of Atmospheric Laser Doppler INstrument (ALADIN) and Cloud-Aerosol Lidar with Orthogonal Polarization (CALIOP) lidars for the period from 28 June to 31 December 2019. First, we build a dataset of ALADIN–CALIOP collocated profiles (1dist < 1◦; 1time < 6 h). Then we convert ALADIN’s 355 nm particulate backscatter and extinction profiles into the scattering ratio vertical profiles SR(z) at 532 nm using molecular density profiles from Goddard Earth Observing System Data Assimilation System, version 5 (GEOS-5 DAS). And finally, we build the CALIOP and ALADIN globally gridded cloud fraction profiles CF(z) by applying the same cloud detection threshold to the SR(z) profiles of both lidars at the same spatial resolution. Before comparing the SR(z) and CF(z) profiles retrieved from the two analyzed lidar missions, we performed a numerical experiment to estimate the best achievable cloud detection agreement CDAnorm(z) considering the differences between the instruments. We define CDAnorm(z) in each latitude–altitude bin as the occurrence frequency of cloud layers detected by both lidars, divided by a cloud fraction value for the same latitude–altitude bin. We simulated the SR(z) and CF(z) profiles that would be observed by these two lidars if they were flying over the same atmosphere predicted by a global model. By analyzing these simulations, we show that the theoretical limit for CDAtheor norm(z) for a combination of ALADIN and CALIOP instruments is equal to 0.81±0.07 at all altitudes. In other words, 19 % of the clouds cannot be detected simultaneously by two instruments due to said differences. The analyses of the actual observed CALIOP–ALADIN collocated dataset containing ∼ 78 000 pairs of nighttime SR(z) profiles revealed the following points: (a) the values of SR(z) agree well up to ∼ 3 km height. (b) The CF(z) profiles show agreement below ∼ 3 km, where ∼ 80 % of the clouds detected by CALIOP are detected by ALADIN as expected from the numerical experiment. (c) Above this height, the CDAobs norm(z) reduces to ∼ 50 %. (d) On average, better sensitivity to lower clouds skews ALADIN’s cloud peak height in pairs of ALADIN–CALIOP profiles by ∼ 0.5 ± 0.6 km downwards, but this effect does not alter the heights of polar stratospheric clouds and high tropical clouds thanks to their strong backscatter signals. (e) The temporal evolution of the observed CDAobs norm(z) does not reveal any statistically significant change during the considered period. This indicates that the instrument-related issues in ALADIN L0/L1 have been mitigated, at least down to the uncertainties of the following CDAobs norm(z) values: 68±12 %, 55±14 %, 34±14 %, 39 ± 13 %, and 42 ± 14 % estimated at 0.75, 2.25, 6.75, 8.75, and 10.25 km, respectively.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, March 2, 2022 - 11:09:45 AM
Last modification on : Monday, July 4, 2022 - 9:34:34 AM


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Artem G. Feofilov, Hélène Chepfer, Vincent Noël, Rodrigo Guzman, Cyprien Gindre, et al.. Comparison of scattering ratio profiles retrieved from ALADIN/Aeolus and CALIOP/CALIPSO observations and preliminary estimates of cloud fraction profiles. Atmospheric Measurement Techniques, European Geosciences Union, 2022, 15 (4), pp.1055-1074. ⟨10.5194/amt-15-1055-2022⟩. ⟨insu-03201876v2⟩



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