Remote Sensing Input to Climatological Datasets
Earth-orbiting satellites have provided a wealth of data which has spawned a revolution in the sciences of meteorology and climatology (Rao et a1. 1990). Through the use of satellites we are able to monitor many aspects of the surface and atmosphere of the Earth. Meteorological satellites have enhanced our understanding of the synoptic processes and now form a routine part of weather information which is distributed to the general public. These satellites have also provided increased understanding of many smaller-scale processes which were not resolved by the surface synoptic network. Aside from these obvious implications for meteorology, satellites have broader implications for the study of large-scale climate dynamics (Ohringet al 1989). Satellites also provide essential information for climate modelling. As global climate models include increasingly complex treatments of the land surface, detailed information on soil moisture distribution, snow cover etc. are required for model validation. Satellite data on clouds provide an important method for evaluating model dynamics together with measured top of the atmosphere radiative fluxes. To enhance our understanding of the climate system, satellite techniques must address many areas of climate research. Some topical examples might be (i) the dynamics of drought (e.g. El Niňo), (ii) the monitoring of deforestation, (iii) the monitoring of stratospheric ozone concentrations and the delicate chemical balance of the Antarctic stratosphere and (iv) the potential microphysical changes induced in clouds by the injection of anthropogenic and natural aerosols (such as those produced by volcanoes or dimethyl sulphide (DMS) released from the oceans (Twomey et al 1984 and Somerville and Remer 1984, Charlson et al. 1987).
KeywordsOutgoing Longwave Radiation ENSO Event Cloud Amount Radiation Budget International Satellite Cloud Climatology Project
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