The retrieval of cloud microphysical properties using satellite measurements and an in situ database
Abstract. By combining AVHRR data from the NOAA satellites with information from a database of in situ measurements, large-scale maps can be generated of the microphysical parameters most immediately significant for the modelling of global circulation and climate. From the satellite data, the clouds can be classified into cumuliform, stratiform and cirrus classes and then into further sub-classes by cloud top temperature. At the same time a database of in situ measurements made by research aircraft is classified into the same sub-classes and a statistical analysis is used to derive relationships between the sub-classes and the cloud microphysical properties. These two analyses are then linked to give estimates of the microphysical properties of the satellite observed clouds. Examples are given of the application of this technique to derive maps of the probability of occurrence of precipitating clouds and of precipitating water content derived from a case study within the International Cirrus Experiment (ICE) held in 1989 over the North Sea.