Articles | Volume 7, issue 6
Research article
26 Jun 2014
Research article |  | 26 Jun 2014

CloudSat-constrained cloud ice water path and cloud top height retrievals from MHS 157 and 183.3 GHz radiances

J. Gong and D. L. Wu

Abstract. Ice water path (IWP) and cloud top height (ht) are two of the key variables in determining cloud radiative and thermodynamical properties in climate models. Large uncertainty remains among IWP measurements from satellite sensors, in large part due to the assumptions made for cloud microphysics in these retrievals. In this study, we develop a fast algorithm to retrieve IWP from the 157, 183.3 ± 3 and 190.3 GHz radiances of the Microwave Humidity Sounder (MHS) such that the MHS cloud ice retrieval is consistent with CloudSat IWP measurements. This retrieval is obtained by constraining the empirical forward models between collocated and coincident measurements of CloudSat IWP and MHS cloud-induced radiance depression (Tcir) at these channels. The empirical forward model is represented by a look-up table (LUT) of Tcir–IWP relationships as a function of ht and the frequency channel. With ht simultaneously retrieved, the IWP is found to be more accurate. The useful range of the MHS IWP retrieval is between 0.5 and 10 kg m−2, and agrees well with CloudSat in terms of the normalized probability density function (PDF). Compared to the empirical model, current operational radiative transfer models (RTMs) still have significant uncertainties in characterizing the observed Tcir–IWP relationships. Therefore, the empirical LUT method developed here remains an effective approach to retrieving ice cloud properties from the MHS-like microwave channels.