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Mission Overview

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Mission Objectives
 
CloudSat and CALIPSO will provide, from space, the first global survey of cloud and aerosol profiles and physical properties, with seasonal and geographical variations. Together, these observations will evaluate the way clouds and aerosols are measured and interact in global models, ultimately contributing to improved predictions of weather, climate and the cloud-climate feedback problem.

CloudSat Objectives

- Quantitatively evaluate the representation of clouds and cloud processes in global atmospheric circulation models (weather prediction and climate models). Obtaining this objective will lead to improvements in both weather forecasting and climate prediction.

-Quantitatively evaluate the relationship between the vertical profiles of cloud liquid water and ice content and the radiative heating of the atmosphere and surface by the various cloud systems.

-Evaluate cloud properties retrieved from other satellite systems, in particular those of Aqua and CALIPSO. This will lead to improved cloud products from other observing systems.

-Investigate the indirect effect of aerosols on clouds. This will lead to an improved understanding of the effect of aerosols on cloud formation and cloud processes. The study of the indirect influences of aerosols on clouds requires a combination of measurements of aerosols, cloud optical properties, and cloud microphysical information including the cloud water content, droplet concentrations, and precipitation occurrence. Analyses of concurrent measurements of aerosol optical depths, together with cloud liquid water contents, occurrence of drizzle, droplet size concentrations and optical depth, documented as a function of aerosol air mass properties, will produce new insights into how aerosols affect cloud formation, life cycle and physical properties.