The first global 883 GHz cloud ice survey: IceCube Level 1 data calibration, processing and analysis
Journal article, 2021
Sub-millimeter (200-1000 GHz) wavelengths contribute a unique capability to fill in the sensitivity gap between operational visible-infrared (VIS-IR) and microwave (MW) remote sensing for atmospheric cloud ice and snow. Being able to penetrate clouds to measure cloud ice mass and microphysical properties in the middle to upper troposphere, a critical spectrum range, is necessary for us to understand the connection between cloud ice and precipitation processes. As the first spaceborne 883 GHz radiometer, the IceCube mission was NASA's latest spaceflight demonstration of commercial sub-millimeter radiometer technology. Successfully launched from the International Space Station, IceCube is essentially a free-running radiometer and collected valuable 15-month measurements of atmosphere and cloud ice. This paper describes the detailed procedures for Level 1 (L1) data calibration, processing and validation. The scientific quality and value of IceCube data are then discussed, including radiative transfer model validation and evaluation, as well as the unique spatial distribution and diurnal cycle of cloud ice that are revealed for the first time on a quasi-global scale at this frequency.