Optical properties of a vertically inhomogeneous mid-latitude mid-level mixed-phase altocumulus in the infrared region Academic Article uri icon


  • A vertically inhomogeneous mid-latitude mixed-phase altocumulus cloud was observed around 17:26 UTC on Oct. 14, 2001 during the 9th Cloud Layer Experiment (CLEX9). In this study the microphysical and optical properties of this cloud are investigated on the basis of in-situ observed vertical profiles of particle size and habit distributions. Two cloud models, assuming that the cloud properties were vertically homogeneous and inhomogeneous, are adopted to derive the bulk optical and radiative properties of this cloud. The observed microphysical properties are combined with the theoretical solutions to the scattering and absorption properties of individual cloud particles to determine the bulk optical properties at various heights within the cloud layer. The single-scattering properties of spherical liquid water droplets and nonspherical ice crystals are obtained from the Lorenz-Mie theory and an existing database, respectively. The bulk microphysical and optical properties associated with the inhomogeneous model depend strongly on the height above the cloud-base whereas the dependence is smoothed out in the case of the homogeneous model. Furthermore, the transfer of infrared radiation is simulated in conjunction with the two cloud models. It is shown that the brightness temperatures at the top of the atmosphere in the case of the homogeneous model can be 1.5% (3.8K) higher than their counterpart associated with the inhomogeneous cloud model. This result demonstrates that the effect of the vertical inhomogeneity of a mixed-phase cloud on its radiative properties is not negligible. 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Niu, J., Carey, L. D., Yang, P., & Haar, T.

citation count

  • 19

complete list of authors

  • Niu, Jianguo||Carey, Lawrence D||Yang, Ping||Haar, Thomas H Vonder

publication date

  • June 2008