Platnick, S; Meyer, K; Amarasinghe, N; Wind, G; Hubanks, PA; Holz, RE (2020). Sensitivity of Multispectral Imager Liquid Water Cloud Microphysical Retrievals to the Index of Refraction. REMOTE SENSING, 12(24), 4165.

A cloud property retrieved from multispectral imagers having spectral channels in the shortwave infrared (SWIR) and/or midwave infrared (MWIR) is the cloud effective particle radius (CER), a radiatively relevant weighting of the cloud particle size distribution. The physical basis of the CER retrieval is the dependence of SWIR/MWIR cloud reflectance on the cloud particle single scattering albedo, which in turn depends on the complex index of refraction of bulk liquid water (or ice) in addition to the cloud particle size. There is a general consistency in the choice of the liquid water index of refraction by the cloud remote sensing community, largely due to the few available independent datasets and compilations. Here we examine the sensitivity of CER retrievals to the available laboratory index of refraction datasets in the SWIR and MWIR using the retrieval software package that produces NASA's standard Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS)/Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer suite (VIIRS) continuity cloud products. The sensitivity study incorporates two laboratory index of refraction datasets that include measurements at supercooled water temperatures, one in the SWIR and one in the MWIR. Neither has been broadly utilized in the cloud remote sensing community. It is shown that these two new datasets can significantly change CER retrievals (e.g., 1-2 mu m) relative to common datasets used by the community. Further, index of refraction data for a 265 K water temperature gives more consistent retrievals between the two spectrally distinct 2.2 mu m atmospheric window channels on MODIS and VIIRS. As a result, 265 K values from the SWIR and MWIR index of refraction datasets were adopted for use in the production version of the continuity cloud product. The results indicate the need to better understand temperature-dependent bulk water absorption and uncertainties in these spectral regions.