Ground-based remote sensing of stratocumulus properties during CLARA, 1996

R. Boers, H.W.J. Russchenberg, J.S. Erkelens, V. Venema, A.C.A.P. van Lammeren, A. Apituley, S.C.H.M. Jongen

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    A method is presented to obtain droplet concentration for water clouds from ground-based remote sensing observations. It relies on observations of cloud thickness, liquid water path, and optical extinction near the cloud base. The method was tested for two case studies (19 April 1996 and 4 September 1996) during the Clouds And Radiation experiment (CLARA). The CLARA experiment was designed to observe clouds using a variety of remote sensing instruments near the city of Delft in the western part of the Netherlands. The measurement of cloud thickness is dependent on the detection of cloud base by lidar and cloud top by radar. It is shown that during CLARA it was possible to detect cloud base with an uncertainty of less than 30 m using current lidar techniques. The agreement between in situ and remote sensing observations of droplet concentration was reasonable. An error analysis indicates that this method is most sensitive to uncertainties in liquid water path and the unknown effects of multiple scattering on lidar signal returns. When the liquid water path is very small the relative error of the liquid water path increases to unacceptable levels, so that the retrieval of droplet concentration becomes very difficult. The estimated uncertainty in the strength of multiple scattering can explain differences between observations and retrievals of droplet concentration on one day, but not the other.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)169-181
    Number of pages13
    JournalJournal of Applied Meteorology
    Publication statusPublished - 2000


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