Haywood, JM, Osborne, SR, Abel, SJ (2004). The effect of overlying absorbing aerosol layers on remote sensing retrievals of cloud effective radius and cloud optical depth. QUARTERLY JOURNAL OF THE ROYAL METEOROLOGICAL SOCIETY, 130(598), 779-800.
Two types of partially absorbing aerosol are included ill calculations that are based on intensive aircraft observations: biomass burning aerosol characterized during the Southern AFricAn Regional science Initiative (SAFARI 2000) and mineral dust aerosol characterized during the SaHAran Dust Experiment (SHADE). Measurements during SAFARI 2000 reveal that the biomass burning aerosol layer is advected over the South Atlantic ocean at elevated altitudes above the marine boundary layer which is capped by semi-permanent stratocumulus Cloud sheets. Similarly. the mineral dust is measured at elevated altitudes during SHADE resulting in transport above Cloud for distances of several thousands of kilometres. We perforin theoretical calculations of the effect of these partially absorbing aerosol layers on satellite retrievals of cloud effective radius and cloud optical depth. and show that. in these cases. retrievals Of Cloud optical depth or liquid water path are likely to be subject to systematic low biases. The theoretical calculations suggest that the cloud effective radius relay be subject to a significant low bias for Moderate resolution Imaging Spectrometer (MODIS) retrievals that rely on the 0.86 and 1.63 mum radiance pair for an overlying aerosol layer of either biomass burning aerosol or mineral dust. Conversely, the Cloud effective radius may be Subject to a significant high bias for Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometel or MODIS retrievals that rely on the 0.63 and 3.7 mum radiance pair for an overlying aerosol layer of mineral dust. Analysis of I kin resolution MODIS data for the SAFARI 2000 period suggests that the effective radius derived from the 0.86 and 1.63 pin radiance pair is, indeed, subject to a low bias in the presence of overlying biomass burning aerosol. These results show the difficulties associated with remote sensing retrievals, which must be kept in mind when attempting to assess any potential indirect effect.