An optimal estimation algorithm to retrieve the cloud optical depth (COD) and cloud particle effective radius (CER) from spectral zenith radiances observed by narrow field-of-view (FOV) ground-based sky radiometers was developed. To further address the filter degradation problem while analyzing long-term observation data, an on-site calibration procedure is proposed, which has good accuracy compared with the standard calibration transfer method. An error evaluation study conducted by assuming errors in observed transmittances and ancillary data for water vapor concentration and surface albedo suggests that the errors in input data affect retrieved CER more than COD. Except for some narrow domains that fall within a COD of < 15, the retrieval errors are small for both COD and CER. The retrieved cloud properties reproduce the broadband radiances observed by a narrow FOV radiometer more precisely than broadband irradiances observed by a wide-FOV pyranometer, justifying the quality of the retrieved product (at least of COD) and indicating the important effect of the instrument FOV in cloud remote sensing. Furthermore, CODs (CERs) from sky radiometer and satellite observations show good (poor) agreement.
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