Evaluation of a GCM cirrus parameterization using satellite observations

B. J. Soden, L. J. Donner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


The methodology combines large-scale dynamic and thermodynamic fields from operational analyses with prescribed occurrence of cirrus clouds from satellite observations to simulate a global distribution of ice water path. The predicted cloud properties are then compared with the corresponding satellite measurements of visible optical depth and infrared cloud emissivity to evaluate the reliability of the parameterization. Overall the parameterization performs remarkably well in capturing the observed spatial patterns of cirrus optical properties. Spatial correlations between the observed and the predicted optical depths are typically greater than 0.7 for the tropics and Northern Hemisphere midlatitudes. The good spatial agreement largely stems from the strong dependence of the ice water path upon the temperature of the environment in which the clouds form. Poorer correlations (r ~ 0.3) are noted over the Southern Hemisphere midlatitudes. -from Authors

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)14,401-14,413
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research
Issue numberD7
StatePublished - Jan 1 1994
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Forestry
  • Oceanography
  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Soil Science
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Palaeontology


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