Cloud Phase Determination Using Ground-Based AERI Observations at SHEBA Academic Article uri icon


  • A new technique for ascertaining the thermodynamic cloud phase from high-spectral-resolution ground-based infrared measurements made by the Atmospheric Emitted Radiance Interferometer (AERI) is presented. This technique takes advantage of the differences in the index of refraction of ice and water between 11 and 19 m. The differences in the refractive indices translate into differences in cloud emissivity at the various wavelengths, which are used to determine whether clouds contain only ice particles or only water particles, or are mixed phase. Simulations demonstrate that the algorithm is able to ascertain correctly the cloud phase under most conditions, with the exceptions occuring when the optical depth of the cloud is dominated by liquid water (>s70%). Several examples from the Surface Heat Budget of the Arctic Ocean (SHEBA) experiment are presented, to demonstrate the capability of the algorithm, in which a collocated polarization-sensitive lidar is used to provide insight to the true thermodynamic phase of the clouds. Statistical comparisons with this lidar during the SHEBA campaign demonstrate that the algorithm identifies the cloud as either an ice or mixed-phase cloud approximately 80% of time when a single-layer cloud with an average depolarization above 10% exists that is not opaque to the AERI. For single-layer clouds having depolarization of less than 10%, the algorithm identifies the cloud as a liquid water cloud over 50% of the time. This algorithm was applied to 7 months of data collected during SHEBA, and monthly statistics on the frequency of ice, water, and mixed-phase clouds are presented.

published proceedings

  • Journal of Applied Meteorology

author list (cited authors)

  • Turner, D. D., Ackerman, S. A., Baum, B. A., Revercomb, H. E., & Yang, P

publication date

  • January 1, 2003 11:11 AM