Articles | Volume 6, issue 3
Research article
01 Mar 2013
Research article |  | 01 Mar 2013

Thermodynamic phase retrieval of convective clouds: impact of sensor viewing geometry and vertical distribution of cloud properties

E. Jäkel, J. Walter, and M. Wendisch

Abstract. The sensitivity of passive remote sensing measurements to retrieve microphysical parameters of convective clouds, in particular their thermodynamic phase, is investigated by three-dimensional (3-D) radiative transfer simulations. The effects of different viewing geometries and vertical distributions of the cloud microphysical properties are investigated. Measurement examples of spectral solar radiance reflected by cloud sides (passive) in the near-infrared (NIR) spectral range are performed together with collocated lidar observations (active). The retrieval method to distinguish the cloud thermodynamic phase (liquid water or ice) exploits different slopes of cloud side reflectivity spectra of water and ice clouds in the NIR. The concurrent depolarization backscattering lidar provides geometry information about the cloud distance and height as well as the depolarization.