Scientific Results

Characterization of the Far Infrared Properties and Radiative Forcing of Antarctic Ice and Water Clouds Exploiting the Spectrometer-LiDAR Synergy

Year: 2020

Authors: Di Natale G., Bianchini G., Del Guasta M., Ridolfi M., Maestri T., Cossich W., Magurno D., Palchetti L.

Autors Affiliation: CNR, Natl Inst Opt, I-50019 Florence, Italy;‎ Univ Bologna, Dept Phys & Astron, I-40126 Bologna, Italy

Abstract: Optical and microphysical cloud properties are retrieved from measurements acquired in 2013 and 2014 at the Concordia base station in the Antarctic Plateau. Two sensors are used synergistically: a Fourier transform spectroradiometer named REFIR-PAD (Radiation Explorer in Far Infrared-Prototype for Applications and Developments) and a backscattering-depolarization LiDAR. First, in order to identify the cloudy scenes and assess the cloud thermodynamic phase, the REFIR-PAD spectral radiances are ingested by a machine learning algorithm called Cloud Identification and Classification (CIC). For each of the identified cloudy scenes, the nearest (in time) LiDAR backscattering profile is processed by the Polar Threshold (PT) algorithm that allows derivation of the cloud top and bottom heights. Subsequently, using the CIC and PT results as external constraints, the Simultaneous Atmospheric and Clouds Retrieval (SACR) code is applied to the REFIR-PAD spectral radiances. SACR simultaneously retrieves cloud optical depth and effective dimensions and atmospheric vertical profiles of water vapor and temperature. The analysis determines an average effective diameter of 28 mu m with an optical depth of 0.76 for the ice clouds. Water clouds are only detected during the austral Summer, and the retrieved properties provide an average droplet diameter of 9 mu m and average optical depth equal to four. The estimated retrieval error is about 1% for the ice crystal/droplet size and 2% for the cloud optical depth. The sensitivity of the retrieved parameters to the assumed crystal shape is also assessed. New parametrizations of the optical depth and the longwave downwelling forcing for Antarctic ice and water clouds, as a function of the ice/liquid water path, are presented. The longwave downwelling flux, computed from the top of the atmosphere to the surface, ranges between 70 and 220 W/m(2). The estimated cloud longwave forcing at the surface is (31 +/- 7) W/m(2) and (29 +/- 6) W/m(2) for ice clouds and (64 +/- 12) and (62 +/- 11) W/m(2) for water clouds, in 2013 and 2014, respectively. The total average cloud forcing for the two years investigated is (46 +/- 9) W/m(2).

Journal/Review: REMOTE SENSING

Volume: 12 (21)      Pages from: 3574-1  to: 3574-22

KeyWords: cirrus clouds; remote sensing; far-infrared; Antarctic clouds; REFIR-PAD
DOI: 10.3390/rs12213574

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