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Cloud Properties

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Part of the Encyclopedia of Earth Sciences Series book series (EESS)


Droplet size distribution. The number distribution of water droplets as a function of droplet size.

Cloud optical depth. A unitless measure of the column integrated radiative extinction of a cloud.

Water content. The liquid or ice water content of an atmospheric volume.

Water path. The vertical integral of the cloud water content.

Droplet number concentration. The number of droplets within an atmospheric volume.

Droplet effective radius. A characteristic droplet size defined as the third moment of the droplet size distribution divided by the second moment.

Radar. Radio detection and ranging.

Lidar. Light detection and ranging.

Polarization. A property of electromagnetic radiation that describes the orientation and phase of its oscillations.

Brightness temperature. The blackbody temperature that is inferred from a measured spectral intensity.


This entry reviews common remote sensing methods to infer cloud properties. Knowledge of cloud properties is of primary...

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  • DOI: 10.1007/978-0-387-36699-9_17
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This research was carried out at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under a contract with the NASA.

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Correspondence to Matthew Lebsock .

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Lebsock, M., Cooper, S. (2014). Cloud Properties. In: Njoku, E.G. (eds) Encyclopedia of Remote Sensing. Encyclopedia of Earth Sciences Series. Springer, New York, NY.

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