Cloud optical properties in the Amazon derived from ground and satellite based instruments


  • Henrique Barbosa
  • Boris Barja (visiting professor)


  • Capes, Ciência sem fronteiras, BJT A016_2013

The full project proposal can be download here as a PDF file.


This research proposal focuses on the determination of cirrus cloud optical properties in the Amazon region from different ground and satellite based instruments before and during GoAmazon/CHUVA Experiments. Understanding the behavior of the optical characteristics of clouds and their lifecycle will allow us to evaluate their interaction with solar and terrestrial radiation. A second objective of this proposal will be the evaluation of the cloud radiative effects. Cloud optical depths (COD) will be evaluated from the LIDAR and radiometer instruments, both installed in experimental sites upwind and downwind from Manaus city. Results will be compared with those obtained from satellite instruments. An evaluation of the cloud radiative forcing on the solar radiation will also be obtained by two different methods in the different sites of measurements: modeling and direct solar radiation measurements. These activities will be involved directly with the Green Ocean Amazon (GoAmazon) 2014/2015 experiment from ARM. This research on optical and radiative properties of cirrus clouds should allow, in the future, improving the representation of clouds in the atmospheric models, what is direct related to FAPESP Thematic project “CHUVA - Cloud processes of tHe main precipitation systems in Brazil: A contribUtion to cloud resolVing modeling and to the GPM (GlobAl Precipitation Measurement)”. PhD. Boris Barja González is a researcher in the Atmospheric Optics Group of Camagüey, Meteorological Institute, Cuba. He has long experience in these proposed topics.


The main objective of the present research Project proposal is to study, evaluate and understand the behavior of the cirrus clouds, and their effect on the solar and terrestrial radiation in preparation to and during the experiments GoAmazon and CHUVA, using satellite-based, and ground-based observations.

The specific objectives of the project are detailed below. It is important to emphasize that the specific objectives and work plan of the present Project are inside the great activities set associated to the GoAmazon project, to the thematic Project FAPESP CHUVA and to the efforts of transport modeling that will be carried out by the IAG-USP and some research groups from USA.

  • Objectives that can be accomplished with data prior to GoAmazon/CHUVA
  1. Characterize the cirrus clouds in the Amazon region from the CALIOP and MODIS data. The CALIOP database is from 2006 to present. MODIS dataset is from 2002 to present.
  2. Characterize the cirrus COD and altitude with raman lidar and COD with MFRSR at the Embrapa (ACONVEX) site. There are less of two years of measurement, but these will be important to validate the satellite measurements.
  3. Comparison of cloud optical depth (COD), altitude, thickness and so on obtained from ground based instruments with data from satellites (CALIPSO and MODIS).
  4. Calculate the radiative forcing of cirrus clouds using radiative models.
  5. Study the seasonal variability the before mentioned aspects.
  6. Design the study of the lifecycle of the cirrus clouds using the synergy of the measurements in the different measurement sites during GoAmazon.
  • Objectives that will be accomplished with data from GoAmazon/CHUVA
  1. Select the cirrus clouds study cases during GoAmazon using the synergy of the advanced instruments and conventional meteorological measurements available in the different sites.
  2. Characterize the life cycle of cirrus clouds during GoAmazon/CHUVA using both satellite-based instruments (CALIOP and MODIS), and ground-based instrumentation, particularly the cloud radars (at Manacapuru), microwave radiometers (at Manacapuru and Embrapa) and lidars (at Mancapuru, Embrapa and Iranduba).
  3. Evaluate the radiative effect of the cirrus clouds during their life cycle using radiative models and radiation measurements during GoAmazon/CHUVA.