European Facility For Airborne Research

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Title Validation of MERIS Cloud-Top Pressure Using Airborne Lidar Measurements
Type Publication

The results of a validation of the European Space Agency’s (ESA) operational Medium-Resolution Imaging Spectrometer (MERIS) cloud-top pressure (CTP) product by airborne lidar measurements are presented. MERIS, mounted on the polar-orbiting ESA Environmental Satellite (ENVISAT), provides radiance measurements within the oxygen A absorption band around 761 nm. The exploitation of these data allows the retrieval of CTP. The validation flights were performed in the northeastern part of Germany between April and June 2004 and were temporally and spatially synchronized with the ENVISAT overpasses. The Cessna 207T of the Freie Universität Berlin was equipped with the portable lidar system (POLIS) of the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München and a GPS navigation system. The maximum flying altitude was around 3000 m; therefore, the validation measurements were limited to situations with low-level clouds only. The validation was done by comparing MERIS data and lidar data. The statistical analysis of the observations revealed a high accuracy of the MERIS CTP product for low-level clouds, apart from a slight systematic overestimation of cloud-top heights. The root-mean-square error was 249 m, with a bias of +232 m. In the average top height level of ∼2000 m, these values are commensurate to pressure values of 24 hPa (rmse) and −22 hPa (bias). Furthermore, this validation campaign revealed deficiencies of the MERIS cloud mask to detect small-scale broken clouds.

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RUHTZ Thomas
R. Lindstrot, R. Preusker, B. Heese, M. Wiegner
Journal Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology
Volume 45
Pages 1612-1621
Year 2006
Times cited 0
Institute country Germany
Type of science
  • Cloud physics
Field of science
  • Satellite calibration/validation
  • Troposphere
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Added Dec. 6, 2007, 00:00
Last update Nov. 20, 2023, 14:42
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