Articles | Volume 6, issue 5
Research article
08 May 2013
Research article |  | 08 May 2013

Optical thickness and effective radius of Arctic boundary-layer clouds retrieved from airborne nadir and imaging spectrometry

E. Bierwirth, A. Ehrlich, M. Wendisch, J.-F. Gayet, C. Gourbeyre, R. Dupuy, A. Herber, R. Neuber, and A. Lampert

Abstract. Arctic boundary-layer clouds in the vicinity of Svalbard (78° N, 15° E) were observed with airborne remote sensing and in situ methods. The cloud optical thickness and the droplet effective radius are retrieved from spectral radiance data from the nadir spot (1.5°, 350–2100 nm) and from a nadir-centred image (40°, 400–1000 nm). Two approaches are used for the nadir retrieval, combining the signal from either two or five wavelengths. Two wavelengths are found to be sufficient for an accurate retrieval of the cloud optical thickness, while the retrieval of droplet effective radius is more sensitive to the number of wavelengths. Even with the comparison to in-situ data, it is not possible to definitely answer the question which method is better. This is due to unavoidable time delays between the in-situ measurements and the remote-sensing observations, and to the scarcity of vertical in-situ profiles within the cloud.