Aebi, C; Grobner, J; Kazadzis, S; Vuilleumier, L; Gkikas, A; Kampfer, N (2020). Estimation of cloud optical thickness, single scattering albedo and effective droplet radius using a shortwave radiative closure study in Payerne. ATMOSPHERIC MEASUREMENT TECHNIQUES, 13(2), 907-923.

We have used a method based on ground-based solar radiation measurements and radiative transfer models (RTMs) in order to estimate the following cloud optical properties: cloud optical thickness (COT), cloud single scattering albedo (SSAc) and effective droplet radius (r(eff)). The method is based on the minimisation of the difference between modelled and measured downward shortwave radiation (DSR). The optical properties are estimated for more than 3000 stratus-altostratus (St-As) and 206 cirrus-cirrostratus (Ci-Cs) measurements during 2013-2017, at the Baseline Surface Radiation Network (BSRN) station in Payerne, Switzerland. The RTM libRadtran is used to simulate the total DSR as well as its direct and diffuse components. The model inputs of additional atmospheric parameters are either ground- or satellite-based measurements. The cloud cases are identified by the use of an all-sky cloud camera. For the low- to mid-level cloud class St-As, 95% of the estimated cloud optical thickness values using total DSR measurements in combination with a RTM, herein abbreviated as COTDSR, are between 12 and 92 with a geometric mean and standard deviation of 33.8 and 1.7, respectively. The comparison of these COTDSR values with COTBarnard values retrieved from an independent empirical equation results in a mean difference of - 1.2 +/- 2.7 and is thus within the method uncertainty. However, there is a larger mean difference of around 18 between COTDSR and COT values derived from MODIS level-2 (L2), Collection 6.1 (C6.1) data (COTMODIS). The estimated r(eff) (from liquid water path and COTDSR) for St-As are between 2 and 20 mu m. For the high-level cloud class Ci-Cs, COTDSR is derived considering the direct radiation, and 95% of the COTDSR values are between 0.32 and 1.40. For Ci-Cs, 95% of the SSAc values are estimated to be between 0.84 and 0.99 using the diffuse radiation. The COT for Ci-Cs is also estimated from data from precision filter radiometers (PFRs) at various wavelengths (COTPFR). The herein presented method could be applied and validated at other stations with direct and diffuse radiation measurements.