Remote sensing of ice crystal asymmetry parameter using multi-directional polarization measurements – Part 2: Application to the Research Scanning Polarimeter
- 1Columbia University, Center for Climate System Research, New York, NY, USA
- 2NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, New York, NY, USA
- 3Department of Atmospheric Sciences, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA
Abstract. A new method to retrieve ice cloud asymmetry parameters from multi-directional polarized reflectance measurements is applied to measurements of the airborne Research Scanning Polarimeter (RSP) obtained during the CRYSTAL-FACE campaign in 2002. The method assumes individual hexagonal ice columns and plates serve as proxies for more complex shapes and aggregates. The closest fit is searched in a look-up table of simulated polarized reflectances computed for cloud layers that contain individual, randomly oriented hexagonal columns and plates with a virtually continuous selection of aspect ratios and distortion. The asymmetry parameter, aspect ratio and distortion of the hexagonal particle that leads to the best fit with the measurements are considered the retrieved values. Two cases of thick convective clouds and two cases of thinner anvil cloud layers are analyzed. Median asymmetry parameters retrieved by the RSP range from 0.76 to 0.78, and are generally smaller than those currently assumed in most climate models and satellite retrievals. In all cases the measurements indicate roughened or distorted ice crystals, which is consistent with previous findings. Retrieved aspect ratios in three of the cases range from 0.9 to 1.6, indicating compact particles dominate the cloud-top shortwave radiation. Retrievals for the remaining case indicate plate-like ice crystals with aspect ratios around 0.3. The RSP retrievals are qualitatively consistent with the CPI images obtained in the same cloud layers. Retrieved asymmetry parameters are compared to those determined in situ by the Cloud Integrating Nephelometer (CIN). For two cases, the median values of asymmetry parameter retrieved by CIN and RSP agree within 0.01, while for the two other cases RSP asymmetry parameters are about 0.03–0.05 greater than those obtained by the CIN. Part of this bias might be explained by vertical variation of the asymmetry parameter or ice shattering on the CIN probe, or both.