Publications associated with Climate Physics


Cloud_cci ATSR-2 and AATSR data set version 3: a 17-year climatology of global cloud and radiation properties

Earth System Science Data Copernicus Publications 12 (2020) 2121-2135

C Poulsen, G McGarragh, G Thomas, M Stengel, M Christensen, A Povey, S Proud, E Carboni, R Hollmann, R Grainger

We present version 3 (V3) of the Cloud_cci Along-Track Scanning Radiometer (ATSR) and Advanced ATSR (AATSR) data set. The data set was created for the European Space Agency (ESA) Cloud_cci (Climate Change Initiative) programme. The cloud properties were retrieved from the second ATSR (ATSR-2) on board the second European Remote Sensing Satellite (ERS-2) spanning 1995–2003 and the AATSR on board Envisat, which spanned 2002–2012. The data are comprised of a comprehensive set of cloud properties: cloud top height, temperature, pressure, spectral albedo, cloud effective emissivity, effective radius, and optical thickness, alongside derived liquid and ice water path. Each retrieval is provided with its associated uncertainty. The cloud property retrievals are accompanied by high-resolution top- and bottom-of-atmosphere shortwave and longwave fluxes that have been derived from the retrieved cloud properties using a radiative transfer model. The fluxes were generated for all-sky and clear-sky conditions. V3 differs from the previous version 2 (V2) through development of the retrieval algorithm and attention to the consistency between the ATSR-2 and AATSR instruments. The cloud properties show improved accuracy in validation and better consistency between the two instruments, as demonstrated by a comparison of cloud mask and cloud height with co-located CALIPSO data. The cloud masking has improved significantly, particularly in its ability to detect clear pixels. The Kuiper Skill score has increased from 0.49 to 0.66. The cloud top height accuracy is relatively unchanged. The AATSR liquid water path was compared with the Multisensor Advanced Climatology of Liquid Water Path (MAC-LWP) in regions of stratocumulus cloud and shown to have very good agreement and improved consistency between ATSR-2 and AATSR instruments. The correlation with MAC-LWP increased from 0.4 to over 0.8 for these cloud regions. The flux products are compared with NASA Clouds and the Earth's Radiant Energy System (CERES) data, showing good agreement within the uncertainty. The new data set is well suited to a wide range of climate applications, such as comparison with climate models, investigation of trends in cloud properties, understanding aerosol–cloud interactions, and providing contextual information for co-located ATSR-2/AATSR surface temperature and aerosol products.


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