Articles | Volume 14, issue 7
Research article
11 Apr 2014
Research article |  | 11 Apr 2014

Ice particle habit and surface roughness derived from PARASOL polarization measurements

B. H. Cole, P. Yang, B. A. Baum, J. Riedi, and L. C.-Labonnote

Abstract. Ice clouds are an important element in the radiative balance of the earth's climate system, but their microphysical and optical properties still are not well constrained, especially ice particle habit and the degree of particle surface roughness. In situ observations have revealed common ice particle habits and evidence for surface roughness, but these observations are limited. An alternative is to infer the ice particle shape and surface roughness from satellite observations of polarized reflectivity since they are sensitive to both particle shape and degree of surface roughness. In this study an adding–doubling radiative transfer code is used to simulate polarized reflectivity for nine different ice habits and one habit mixture, along with 17 distinct levels of the surface roughness. A lookup table (LUT) is constructed from the simulation results and used to infer shape and surface roughness from PARASOL satellite polarized reflectivity data over the ocean. Globally, the retrievals yield a compact aggregate of columns as the most commonly retrieved ice habit. Analysis of PARASOL data from the tropics results in slightly more aggregates than in midlatitude or polar regions. Some level of surface roughness is inferred in nearly 70% of PARASOL data, with mean and median roughness near σ = 0.2 and 0.15, respectively. Tropical region analyses have 20% more pixels retrieved with particle surface roughness than in midlatitude or polar regions. The global asymmetry parameter inferred at a wavelength of 0.865 μm has a mean value of 0.77 and a median value of 0.75.

Final-revised paper