Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2016

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Atmospheric & Oceanic Sciences

First Advisor

Konrad Sebastian. Schmidt

Second Advisor

Cora Randall

Third Advisor

Graham Feingold

Fourth Advisor

Michael King

Fifth Advisor

Peter Pilewskie


In this thesis, we aim to systematically understand the relationship between cloud spatial structure and its radiation imprints, i.e., three-dimensional (3D) cloud effects, with the ultimate goal of deriving accurate radiative energy budget estimates from space, aircraft, or ground-based observations under spatially inhomogeneous conditions. By studying the full spectral information in the measured and modeled shortwave radiation fields of heterogeneous cloud scenes sampled during aircraft field experiments, we find evidence that cloud spatial structure reveals itself through spectral signatures in the associated irradiance and radiance fields in the near-ultraviolet and visible spectral range.

The spectral signature of 3D cloud effects in irradiances is apparent as a domain- wide, consistent correlation between the magnitude and spectral dependence of net horizontal photon transport. The physical mechanism of this phenomenon is molecular scattering in conjunction with cloud heterogeneity. A simple parameterization with a single parameter