Global and regional estimates of warm cloud droplet number concentration based on 13 years of AQUA-MODIS observations
- 1Earth and Environmental Science Department, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN 37240, USA
- 2Space Science and Engineering Center, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI 53706, USA
Abstract. We present and evaluate a climatology of cloud droplet number concentration (CDNC) based on 13 years of Aqua-MODIS observations. The climatology provides monthly mean 1 × 1° CDNC values plus associated uncertainties over the global ice-free oceans. All values are in-cloud values, i.e. the reported CDNC value will be valid for the cloudy part of the grid box. Here, we provide an overview of how the climatology was generated and assess and quantify potential systematic error sources including effects of broken clouds, and remaining artefacts caused by the retrieval process or related to observation geometry. Retrievals and evaluations were performed at the scale of initial MODIS observations (in contrast to some earlier climatologies, which were created based on already gridded data). This allowed us to implement additional screening criteria, so that observations inconsistent with key assumptions made in the CDNC retrieval could be rejected. Application of these additional screening criteria led to significant changes in the annual cycle of CDNC in terms of both its phase and magnitude. After an optimal screening was established a final CDNC climatology was generated. Resulting CDNC uncertainties are reported as monthly-mean standard deviations of CDNC over each 1 × 1° grid box. These uncertainties are of the order of 30 % in the stratocumulus regions and 60 to 80 % elsewhere.