Retrieval of cloud droplet size distribution parameters from polarized reflectance measurements

M. Alexandrov, B. Cairns, C. Emde, B. van Diedenhoven, A. Ackerman


We present an algorithm for retrieval of cloud droplet size distribution parameters (effective radius and variance) from the Research Scanning Polarimeter (RSP) measurements. The RSP is an airborne prototype for the Aerosol Polarimetery Sensor (APS), which is due to be launched as part of the NASA Glory Project. This instrument measures both polarized and total reflectances in 9 spectral channels with center wavelengths ranging from 410 to 2250 nm. For cloud droplet size retrievals we utilize the polarized reflectances in the scattering angle range between 140 and 170 degrees where they exhibit rainbow. The shape of the rainbow is determined mainly by single scattering properties of the cloud particles, that simplifies the inversions and reduces retrieval uncertainties. The retrieval algorithm was tested using realistically simulated cloud radiation fields. Our retrievals of cloud droplet sizes from actual RSP measurements made during two recent field campaigns were compared with the correlative in situ observations.


polarimetry, cloud droplet size, polarized reflectance

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