Development of a Water Cloud Radiance Model for Use in Training an Artificial Neural Network to Recover Cloud Properties from Sun Photometer Observations

TR Number
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Virginia Tech

As the planetary climate continues to evolve, it is important to build an accurate long-term climate record. State-of-the-art atmospheric science requires a variety of approaches to the measurement of the atmospheric structure and composition. This thesis supports the possibility of inferring cloud properties from sun photometer observations of the cloud solar aureole using an artificial neural network (ANN). Training of an ANN requires a large number of input and output parameter sets. A cloud radiance model is derived that takes into consideration the cloud depth, the mean size of the cloud water particles, and the cloud liquid water content. The cloud radiance model derived here is capable of considering the wavelength of the incident sunlight and the cloud lateral dimensions as parameters; however, here we consider only one wavelength—550 nm—and one lateral dimension—500 m—to demonstrate its performance. The cloud radiance model is then used to generate solar aureole profiles corresponding to the cloud parameters as they would be observed using a sun photometer. Coefficients representative of the solar aureole profiles may then be used as inputs to a trained ANN to infer the parameters used to generate the profile. This process is demonstrated through examples. A manuscript submitted for possible publication based on an early version of the cloud radiance model was deemed naïve by reviewers, ultimately leading to improvements documented here.

Mie Scattering, Monte Carlo Ray-Trace, Artificial Neural Network