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Uncertainty in Cloud Optical Depth Estimates Made from Satellite Radiance Measurements

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Title: Uncertainty in Cloud Optical Depth Estimates Made from Satellite Radiance Measurements
Author: Pincus, Robert; Szczodrak, Malgorzata; Gu, Jiujing; Austin, Philip H.
Issue Date: 1995-05
Publicly Available in cIRcle 2011-03-25
Publisher American Meteorological Society
Citation: Pincus, Robert, Szczodrak, Malgorzata, Gu, Jiujing, Austin, Philip H. 1995. Uncertainty in Cloud Optical Depth Estimates Made from Satellite Radiance Measurements. Journal of Climate, 8(5) 1453–1462. dx.doi.org/10.1175/1520-0442(1995)008<1453:UICODE>2.0.CO;2
Abstract: The uncertainty in optical depths retrieved from satellite measurements of visible wavelength radiance at the top of the atmosphere is quantified. Techniques are briefly reviewed for the estimation of optical depth from measurements of radiance, and it is noted that these estimates are always more uncertain at greater optical depths and larger solar zenith angles. The lack of radiometric calibration for visible wavelength imagers on operational satellites dominates the uncertainty retrievals of optical depth. This is true for both single-pixel retrievals and for statistics calculated from a population of individual retrievals. For individual estimates or small samples, sensor discretization (especially for the VAS instrument) can also be significant, but the sensitivity of the retrieval to the specification of the model atmosphere is less important. The relative uncertainty in calibration affects the accuracy with which optical depth distributions measured by different sensors may be quantitatively compared, while the absolute calibration uncertainty, acting through the nonlinear mapping of radiance to optical depth, limits the degree to which distributions measured by the same sensor may be distinguished. Copyright 1995 American Meteorological Society (AMS). Permission to use figures, tables, and brief excerpts from this work in scientific and educational works is hereby granted provided that the source is acknowledged. Any use of material in this work that is determined to be “fair use” under Section 107 of the U.S. Copyright Act or that satisfies the conditions specified in Section 108 of the U.S. Copyright Act (17 USC §108, as revised by P.L. 94-553) does not require the AMS’s permission. Republication, systematic reproduction, posting in electronic form, such as on a web site or in a searchable database, or other uses of this material, except as exempted by the above statement, requires written permission or a license from the AMS. Additional details are provided in the AMS Copyright Policy, available on the AMS Web site located at (http://www.ametsoc.org/) or from the AMS at 617-227-2425 or copyright@ametsoc.org.
Affiliation: Earth and Ocean Sciences, Dept. of (EOS), Dept of
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2429/32963
Peer Review Status: Reviewed
Scholarly Level: Faculty

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