pure and applied geophysics

, Volume 116, Issue 6, pp 1007–1029 | Cite as

Radiative properties of cirrus clouds in NOAA 4 VTPR channels: Some explorations of cloud scenes from satellites

  • Kuo-Nan Liou
  • T. L. Stoffel
  • R. G. Feddes
  • James T. Bunting


A one-dimensional spectral infrared radiative transfer model has been developed for atmospheres containing cirrus clouds and absorbing gases above, below and within the cloud. The transfer model takes into consideration the inhomogeneity of the cloudy atmosphere, the gaseous absorption in scattering cloud layers and the wavenumber dependence of radiative transfer. In addition, the cirrus cloud is further divided into a number of sub-layers to account for the non-isothermal and inhomogeneous cloud characteristics. Single-scattering properties for ice crystals are calculated assuming ice cylinders 200 and 60 μm in lenght and width, respectively, randomly oriented in a horizontal plane. The spectral infrared transfer program is applied to VTPR channels of the NOAA 4 satellite to simulate upward radiances in cirrus cloud conditions.

Comparisons between satellite observed and theoretically simulated upward radiances are carried out for selected cirrus cloud cases. Incorporating atmospheric profiles obtained from radiosonde and the observed cloud information into the spectral transfer program, we show a systematic agreement between observed and computed upward radiances. Systematic reduction patterns of the upward radiance caused by the increase of the cloud ice content are clearly demonstrated for VTPR channels employing tropical and midlatitude atmospheric profiles. Having the quantitative relationships between upward radiances and ice contents, procedures are described for the inference of the cloud ice content and cloud amount. The proposed method has been successfully applied to the three cirrus cloud cases.

Key words

satellite meteorology Cirrus clouds Radiative transfer through cirrus 


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Copyright information

© Birkhäuser Verlag 1978

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kuo-Nan Liou
    • 1
  • T. L. Stoffel
    • 1
  • R. G. Feddes
    • 1
  • James T. Bunting
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of MeteorologyUniversity of UtahSalt Lake CityUSA
  2. 2.Air Force Geophysics LaboratoryBedfordUSA

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