Cloud detection in the upper troposphere-lower stratosphere region via ACE imagers: A qualitative study

J. Dodion, D. Fussen, F. Vanhellemont, C. Bingen, N. Mateshvili, K. Gilbert, R. Skelton, D. Turnbull, S. D. McLeod, C. D. Boone, K. A. Walker, P. F. Bernath

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Satellite-based limb occultation measurements are well suited for the detection and mapping of polar stratospheric clouds (PSCs) and cirrus clouds. Usually, cloud signatures are detected on aerosol extinction profiles. In this paper, ACE two-dimensional (2-D) imager data are used to show PSCs and cirrus clouds. Clouds can be clearly seen, with a good vertical and horizontal resolution ( 1 km), during sunset and sunrise. In addition, we discovered significant differences between stratospheric ( PSCs) and tropospheric ( cirrus) clouds. PSCs appear as "symmetric'' layers, no horizontal or vertical "structure'' is detected within the PSC, suggesting that PSCs are uniform clouds with a very large horizontal extent. On the other hand, cirrus cloud image geometry is not well-defined. In contrast to PSCs, cirrus clouds appear as irregular shaped clouds. These tropospheric clouds seem to have horizontal dimensions similar to the Sun on the image ( 25 km at the tangent point). The qualitative display of these different kinds of clouds, seen on the raw 2-D imager data, proves the ability of the imagers to be an efficient cloud detector in the upper troposphere-lower stratosphere (UTLS) region. Moreover, the structure of these clouds can be derived.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)-
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research
Issue numberD3
Publication statusPublished - 9 Feb 2007


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