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- High resolution infrared radiance spectra achieved from the NASA ER2 airborne HIS experiment are used to analyze the spectral emissivity properties of cirrus clouds within the 8 to 12 micron atmospheric window region. Observations show that the cirrus emissivity generally decreases with increasing wavenumber (i.e., decreasing wavelength) within this band. A very abrupt decrease in emissivity (increase in brightness temperature) exists between 930/cm (10.8 microns) and 1000/cm (10.0 microns), the magnitude of the change being associated with the cirrus optical thickness as observed by lidar. The HIS observations are consistent with theoretical calculations of the spectral absorption coefficient for ice. The HIS observations imply that cirrus clouds can be detected unambiguously from the difference in brightness temperatures observed within the 8.2 and 11.0 micron window regions of the HIRS sounding radiometer flying on the operational NOAA satellites. This ability is demonstrated using simultaneous 25 km resolution HIRS observations and 1 km resolution AVHRR imagery achieved from the NOAA-9 satellite. Finally, the cirrus cloud location estimates combined with the 6.7 micron channel moisture imagery portray the boundaries of the ice/vapor phase of the upper troposphere moisture. This phase distinction is crucial for infrared radiative transfer considerations for weather and climate models, since upper tropospheric water vapor has little effect on the Earth's outgoing radiation whereas cirrus clouds have a very large attenuating effect.
- Other Subject(s):
- NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS) Collection.
- Document ID: 19910001152.
Accession ID: 91N10465.
NASA, Langley Research Center, FIRE Science Results 1988; p 89-93.
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