The CloudSat satellite mission, a joint venture by NASA and the Canadian Space Agency, has deployed a nadir-pointing, W-band cloud-profiling radar on a near-polar orbiting, sun synchronous platform. This represents an important step toward: (1) providing information required to clarify the processes that interrelate clouds and climate; and (2) investigating the utility of space-based W-band radars to observe and quantify cloud and precipitation. An overview of the mission is given in Stephens et al. (2002).
Correspondence to: David Hudak.
David.Hudak@ec.gc.ca / Phone: 905-833-3905
CloudSat was launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on April 28, 2006 along with a sister satellite, CALIPSO, that has a lidar onboard (Winkler et al., 2003). After launch, a validation project to investigate the applicability of the satellite data and their products to the northern climate will take place in Canada. Hudak et al. (2004), using ground-based radar data collected in northern Canada, suggested that the sensitivity of the CloudSat radar should be adequate for most purposes. That is, most clouds should be above the detection limit of the radar and attenuation by clouds with high moisture content should be of little concern. However, biases in retrieved cloud properties related to both multi-layer systems with high ice content and mixed phase clouds were suggested.
The goals of this validation project are to provide independent validation of CloudSat data products and verification of the physical basis of the underlying algorithms. This will complement validations planned elsewhere that are focused on warm-season, convective-cloud systems.
D Hudak, H Barker, P Rodriguez, D Donovan. The Canadian CloudSat Validation Project