Sokolsky, P, Krizmanic, J (2004). Effect of clouds on apertures of space-based air fluorescence detectors. ASTROPARTICLE PHYSICS, 20(4), 391-403.
Space-based ultra-high-energy cosmic ray detectors observe fluorescence light from extensive air showers produced by these particles in the troposphere. Clouds can scatter and absorb this light and produce systematic errors in energy determination and spectrum normalization. We study the possibility of using IR remote sensing data from MODIS and GOES satellites to delimit clear areas of the atmosphere. The efficiency for detecting ultra-high-energy cosmic rays whose showers do not intersect clouds is determined for real, night-time cloud scenes. We use the MODIS SST cloud mask product to define clear pixels for cloud scenes along the equator and use the OWL Monte Carlo to generate showers in the cloud scenes. We find the efficiency for cloud-free showers with closest approach of three pixels to a cloudy pixel is 6.5%, exclusive of other factors. We conclude that defining a totally cloud-free aperture reduces the sensitivity of space-based fluorescence detectors to unacceptably small levels. (C) 2003 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.