Liang, LS; Di Girolamo, L (2013). A global analysis on the view-angle dependence of plane-parallel oceanic liquid water cloud optical thickness using data synergy from MISR and MODIS. JOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH-ATMOSPHERES, 118(5), 2389-2403.
We examine the viewing zenith angle dependent bias (VZA bias) in warm cloud optical thickness (tau) retrieved from a plane-parallel approach applied to fused Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) and Multi-angle Imaging SpectroRadiometer (MISR) data for the months of January and July between 2001 and 2008. The near-simultaneous multiple view-angle observations from MISR offers many advantages over previous tau-VZA bias studies: 1) The analysis no longer requires seasonal and latitudinal cloud invariant assumptions, 2) consistent cloudy scene identification with VZA, 3) stratification of VZA-bias with scene characteristics, and 4) a greater range of sun-view geometries. Contrasting results between previous studies are resolved through careful consideration of the relative azimuth angle (RAZ) between sun and view. Relative to nadir-retrieved tau, tau increases in both forward-and backscatter directions with higher value in backscatter directions for solar zenith angle (SZA)similar to 40 degrees, tau increases with increasing VZA in backscatter directions and strongly decreases in forward-scatter directions. For the most oblique views, similar to 40-100% absolute monthly mean differences relative to nadir-retrieved tau is common. This behavior is strongly tied to the sampled RAZ and explained based on three factors tied to the spatial heterogeneity of clouds. These factors also explain the behavior of the tau-VZA bias when stratified by nadir-retrieved tau and spatial heterogeneity, even in the thin-cloud limit where sun-glint effects are evident. We also observe an underestimation of tau relative to nadir in the rainbow-scattering directions and attribute it to an overestimation of the cloud-drop effective radius retrieved from MODIS due to cloud heterogeneity. There remains a need to quantify the bias in nadir-retrieved t as a function of SZA and spatial heterogeneity as a step toward providing bias correction over a wide range of sun-view geometries.