The surface longwave cloud radiative effect derived from space lidar observations

Arouf, A., H. Chepfer, T. Vaillant de Guélis, M. Chiriaco, M.D. Shupe, R. Guzman, A. Feofilov, P. Raberanto, T.S. L'Ecuyer, S. Kato, and M.R. Gallagher, 2022: The surface longwave cloud radiative effect derived from space lidar observations. Atmospheric Measurement Techniques , 15(12): 3893–3923,


Clouds warm the surface in the longwave (LW), and this warming effect can be quantified through the surface LW cloud radiative effect (CRE). The global surface LW CRE has been estimated over more than 2 decades using space-based radiometers (2000–2021) and over the 5-year period ending in 2011 using the combination of radar, lidar and space-based radiometers. Previous work comparing these two types of retrievals has shown that the radiometer-based cloud amount has some bias over icy surfaces. Here we propose new estimates of the global surface LW CRE from space-based lidar observations over the 2008–2020 time period. We show from 1D atmospheric column radiative transfer calculations that surface LW CRE linearly decreases with increasing cloud altitude. These computations allow us to establish simple parameterizations between surface LW CRE and five cloud properties that are well observed by the Cloud-Aerosol Lidar and Infrared Pathfinder Satellite Observations (CALIPSO) space-based lidar: opaque cloud cover and altitude and thin cloud cover, altitude, and emissivity. We evaluate this new surface LWCRE–LIDAR product by comparing it to existing satellite-derived products globally on instantaneous collocated data at footprint scale and on global averages as well as to ground-based observations at specific locations. This evaluation shows good correlations between this new product and other datasets. Our estimate appears to be an improvement over others as it appropriately captures the annual variability of the surface LW CRE over bright polar surfaces and it provides a dataset more than 13 years long.