New CALIPSO Level-3 Aerosol and Cloud Products for Quantifying Aerosol and Cloud Spatial Distribution and Optical Properties

Jason Tackett Science Systems and Applications, Inc.
Charles (Chip) Trepte NASA
David Winker NASA - Langley Research Center
Brian Getzewich Science Systems and Applications, Inc.

Category: Aerosol Properties

Characterizing the global spatial distribution of aerosols and clouds in both the horizontal and vertical dimension is crucial for evaluating outputs of climate models that provide estimates of radiative forcing. However, obtaining a large number of observations on a global scale is difficult, particularly with aerosols in the vertical dimension, since few instruments resolve vertical information. Furthermore, measurements over long time periods are required to generate meaningful statistics and to capture seasonal variability. After five years in orbit, CALIPSO presents the capability to observe seasonal variability of aerosol and cloud spatial distributions, discriminate aerosol type and cloud ice-water phase, and to examine vertical profiles of aerosol extinction on a global scale. The next step to make this information useful for quantifying the role of aerosols and clouds in the climate system is to aggregate CALIPSO observations into level-3 products, which is the topic of this presentation. In 2011, the CALIPSO Lidar Science Working Group will release level-3 aerosol cloud and data products. The aerosol products will provide quality-screened aerosol extinction coefficients, aggregated monthly onto a latitude, longitude, and altitude grid. This presentation highlights the upcoming CALIPSO level-3 aerosol product, focusing on the rationale for the statistics included and the methods used for quality screening. Examples are given to show how the product can be used to understand global spatial variability of aerosol properties and how this data product lends itself to MODIS aerosol optical depth versus CALIPSO aerosol optical depth comparisons. Additionally, information describing the proposed content of the forthcoming CALIPSO level-3 cloud product is provided to encourage feedback from the scientific community and ensure that useful, high-quality information is included.

This poster will be displayed at ASR Science Team Meeting.

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