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A global multilayer cloud identification with POLDER/PARASOL

Desmons, M., Ferlay, N., Parol, F., Riédi, J. and Thieuleux, F. (2017) A global multilayer cloud identification with POLDER/PARASOL. Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology, 56 (4). pp. 1121-1139. ISSN 1558-8432

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1175/JAMC-D-16-0159.1


The detection of multilayer cloud situations is important for satellite retrieval algorithms and for many climate related applications. In this paper, we describe an algorithm based on the exploitation of the POLarization and Directionality of the Earth’s Reflectance (POLDER) observations to identify monolayered and multilayered cloudy situations along with a confidence index. Our reference comes from the synergy of the active instruments of the A-Train satellite constellation. The algorithm is based upon a decision tree that uses a metric from information theory and a series of tests on POLDER Level-2 products. We obtain a multilayer flag as the final result of a tree classification which takes discrete values between 0 and 100. Values closest to zero (resp. a hundred) indicate a higher confidence in the monolayer (resp. multilayer) character. This indicator can be used as it is, or with a threshold level that minimizes the risk of misclassification, as a binary index to distinguish between monolayer and multilayer clouds. For almost fully covered and optically thick enough cloud scenes, the risk of misclassification ranges from 29% to 34% over the period 2006–2010 and the average confidences in the estimated monolayer and multilayer characters of the cloud scenes are 74.0% and 58.2% respectively. With the binary distinction, POLDER provides a climatology of the mono/multi-layer cloud character that exhibits some interesting features. Comparisons with the performance of the Moderate-Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) multilayerflag are given.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:69488
Publisher:American Meteorological Society


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