Remote Sensing and Radiative Transfer

Satellite observations of clouds

Geostationary satellite observations with remote sensing techniques can provide the distributions of cloud top height (CTH), cloud optical thickness (COT) and cloud-particle effective radius (CER).


The robust characterization of cloud and aerosol properties is critical to atmospheric science studies, as these cloud and aerosol properties are essential to investigate cloud and aerosol processes. Remote sensing techniques allow us to access such datasets without direct measurements of these properties but with radiometric observations.  On the one hand, the University of Wyoming King Air (UWKA) research aircraft can deploy Wyoming Cloud Radar (WCR) and Lidar (WCL) from which we characterize the profiles of optical, physical, and microphysical properties of clouds and aerosol plumes at local scales. On the other hand, space-borne observations are useful to obtain regional/global distributions of these properties with a few kilometer scales. The common essence in both remote sensing types is how to interpret radiometric signals and derive cloud and aerosol properties based on physical principles. Our department focuses on the characterization of dust plumes, mixed-phase clouds, and ice clouds from King Air observations and geostationary satellite observations (Saito). Also, we utilize polar-orbiting satellites to build a long-term record of cloud properties over the globe.

All remote sensing applications and radiative flux estimations are laid upon the theory of radiative transfer in the atmosphere. Some of the research topics include the improvements of the simulations of the single-scattering properties of atmospheric particles and radiative transfer schemes with state-of-the-art light-scattering computational approaches and a paper-and-pencil approach (Saito).



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