Analysis and Prediction of Cirrus-Top Altitude and Ice Water Path in a Mesoscale Area

Donald C. Norquist Air Force Research Laboratory, Hanscom Air Force Base, Massachusetts

Search for other papers by Donald C. Norquist in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
and
Robert P. d'Entremont Atmospheric and Environmental Research, Inc., Lexington, Massachusetts

Search for other papers by Robert P. d'Entremont in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
Restricted access

Abstract

Vertical distributions of clouds have been a focus of many studies, motivated by their importance in radiative transfer processes in climate models. This study examines the horizontal distribution of cirrus clouds by means of satellite imagery analyses and numerical weather prediction model forecasts. A ground-truth dataset based on two aircraft mission periods flying particle probes through cirrus over a ground-based cloud radar is developed. Particle probe measurements in the cirrus clouds are used to compute ice water content and radar reflectivity averages in short time periods (25–30 s). Relationships for ice water content as a function of reflectivity are developed for 6-K ambient temperature categories. These relationships are applied to the radar-measured short-term-averaged reflectivities to compute vertical profiles of ice water content, which are vertically integrated over the depth of the observed cirrus clouds to form ice water path estimates. These and cloud-top height are compared with the same quantities as retrieved by the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) level-2B algorithm applied to four channels of GOES-8 imagery measurements. The agreement in cloud-top height is reasonable (generally less than 2-km difference). The ice water path retrievals are smaller in magnitude than the radar estimates, and this difference grows with increasing cirrus thickness. Comparisons of a sequence of the fifth-generation Pennsylvania State University–National Center for Atmospheric Research Mesoscale Model (MM5) predictions and GOES level-2B retrievals of ice cloud tops for the convectively active second mission period showed that the MM5 cirrus areal extent was somewhat greater than the GOES depictions. Cloud-top height ranges were similar. MM5 is capable of producing ice water path magnitudes similar to the radar estimates, but the GOES retrievals are much more limited. Ninety-eight percent of the GOES grid points had ice water paths no greater than 60 g m−2, as compared with 74% for MM5. Ten percent of MM5 points had ice water content >200 g m−2, as compared with 0.07% for GOES retrievals. Based on this study, we conclude that GOES level-2B cloud-top retrievals are a reliable tool for prediction evaluations but the algorithm's retrievals of ice water path are not.

Corresponding author address: Donald C. Norquist, AFRL/VSBL, 29 Randolph Rd., Hanscom AFB, MA 01731-3010. donald.norquist@hanscom.af.mil

Abstract

Vertical distributions of clouds have been a focus of many studies, motivated by their importance in radiative transfer processes in climate models. This study examines the horizontal distribution of cirrus clouds by means of satellite imagery analyses and numerical weather prediction model forecasts. A ground-truth dataset based on two aircraft mission periods flying particle probes through cirrus over a ground-based cloud radar is developed. Particle probe measurements in the cirrus clouds are used to compute ice water content and radar reflectivity averages in short time periods (25–30 s). Relationships for ice water content as a function of reflectivity are developed for 6-K ambient temperature categories. These relationships are applied to the radar-measured short-term-averaged reflectivities to compute vertical profiles of ice water content, which are vertically integrated over the depth of the observed cirrus clouds to form ice water path estimates. These and cloud-top height are compared with the same quantities as retrieved by the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) level-2B algorithm applied to four channels of GOES-8 imagery measurements. The agreement in cloud-top height is reasonable (generally less than 2-km difference). The ice water path retrievals are smaller in magnitude than the radar estimates, and this difference grows with increasing cirrus thickness. Comparisons of a sequence of the fifth-generation Pennsylvania State University–National Center for Atmospheric Research Mesoscale Model (MM5) predictions and GOES level-2B retrievals of ice cloud tops for the convectively active second mission period showed that the MM5 cirrus areal extent was somewhat greater than the GOES depictions. Cloud-top height ranges were similar. MM5 is capable of producing ice water path magnitudes similar to the radar estimates, but the GOES retrievals are much more limited. Ninety-eight percent of the GOES grid points had ice water paths no greater than 60 g m−2, as compared with 74% for MM5. Ten percent of MM5 points had ice water content >200 g m−2, as compared with 0.07% for GOES retrievals. Based on this study, we conclude that GOES level-2B cloud-top retrievals are a reliable tool for prediction evaluations but the algorithm's retrievals of ice water path are not.

Corresponding author address: Donald C. Norquist, AFRL/VSBL, 29 Randolph Rd., Hanscom AFB, MA 01731-3010. donald.norquist@hanscom.af.mil

Save
  • Atlas, D., S. Y. Matrosov, A. J. Heymsfield, M-D. Chou, and D. B. Wolff. 1995. Radar and radiation properties of ice clouds. J. Appl. Meteor. 34:23292345.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Baumgardner, D. and A. Korolev. 1997. Airspeed corrections for optical array probe sample volumes. J. Atmos. Oceanic Technol. 14:12241229.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Bohren, C. F. and D. R. Huffman. 1983. Absorption and Scattering of Light by Small Particles. John Wiley and Sons, 530 pp.

  • Brewster, K. 1998. Phase-correcting assimilation of radar data for thunderstorm forecasting. Preprints, 12th Conf. on Numerical Weather Prediction, Phoenix, AZ, Amer. Meteor. Soc., 181–184.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Brown, P. R. A., A. J. Illingworth, A. J. Heymsfield, G. M. McFarquhar, K. A. Browning, and M. Gosset. 1995. The role of spaceborne millimeter-wave radar in the global monitoring of ice cloud. J. Appl. Meteor. 34:23462366.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Dudhia, J. 2000. Recent developments and plans for MM5. Preprints, 10th PSU/NCAR Mesoscale Model Users' Workshop, Boulder, CO, NCAR, 6–8. [Available online at http://www.mmm.ucar.edu/mm5/mm5-home.html.].

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Gardiner, B. A. and J. Hallett. 1985. Degradation of in-cloud forward scattering spectrometer probe measurements in the presence of ice crystals. J. Atmos. Oceanic Technol. 2:171180.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Gayet, J-F., P. R. A. Brown, and F. Albers. 1993. A comparison of in-cloud measurements obtained with six PMS 2D-C probes. J. Atmos. Oceanic Technol. 10:180194.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Grell, G. A. 1993. Prognostic evaluation of assumptions used by cumulus parameterizations. Mon. Wea. Rev. 121:764787.

  • Gustafson, G. B. and R. P. d'Entremont. 2000. Development and validation of improved techniques for cloud property retrieval from environmental satellites. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFMC) Tech. Rep. AFRL-VS-TR-2001-1549, 56 pp. [Available from AFRL/VSBL, 29 Randolph Rd, Hanscom AFB, MA 01731-3010.].

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Hogan, R. J., C. Jakob, and A. J. Illingworth. 2001. Comparison of ECMWF winter-season cloud fraction with radar-derived values. J. Appl. Meteor. 40:513525.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Liu, C-L. and A. J. Illingworth. 2000. Toward more accurate retrievals of ice water content from radar measurements of clouds. J. Appl. Meteor. 39:11301146.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Liu, G. and J. A. Curry. 1998. Remote sensing of ice water characteristics in tropical clouds using aircraft microwave measurements. J. Appl. Meteor. 37:337355.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Liu, G. and J. A. Curry. 1999. Tropical ice water amount and its relations to other atmospheric hydrological parameters as inferred from satellite data. J. Appl. Meteor. 38:11821194.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Liu, G. and J. A. Curry. 2000. Determination of ice water path and mass median particle size using multichannel microwave measurements. J. Appl. Meteor. 39:13181329.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Mace, G. G., C. Jakob, and K. P. Moran. 1998. Validation of hydrometeor occurrence predicted by the ECMWF model using millimeter wave radar data. Geophys. Res. Lett. 25:16451648.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Matrosov, S. Y. 1997. Variability of microphysical parameters in high-altitude ice clouds: Results of the remote sensing method. J. Appl. Meteor. 36:633648.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • McFarquhar, G. M. and A. J. Heymsfield. 1996. Microphysical characteristics of three anvils sampled during the Central Equatorial Pacific Experiment. J. Atmos. Sci. 53:24012423.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Morrison, B. J., R. Hobbs, D. Rusk, J. Jung, and R. L. Rose. 1997. The High Altitude Reconnaissance Platform (HARP) SBIRS final report. Aeromet Tech. Rep. AEROMET/TUL 9704211, 264 pp. [Available from Aeromet, Inc., P.O. Box 710767, Tulsa, OK 74170-1767.].

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Reisner, J., R. M. Rasmussen, and R. T. Bruintjes. 1998. Explicit forecasting of supercooled liquid water in winter storms using the MM5 mesoscale model. Quart. J. Roy. Meteor. Soc. 124B:10711107.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Ryan, B. F. 2000. A bulk parameterization of the ice particle size distribution and the optical properties in ice clouds. J. Atmos. Sci. 57:14361451.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Sekelsky, S. M., W. L. Ecklund, J. M. Firda, K. S. Gage, and R. E. McIntosh. 1999. Particle size estimation in ice-phase clouds using multifrequency radar reflectivity measurements at 95, 33, and 2.8 GHz. J. Appl. Meteor. 38:528.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Sheu, R-S., J. A. Curry, and G. Liu. 1997. Vertical stratification of tropical cloud properties as determined from satellite. J. Geophys. Res. 102:42314245.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Stubenrach, C. J., R. Holz, A. Chedin, D. L. Mitchell, and A. J. Baran. 1999. Retrieval of cirrus ice crystal sizes from 8.3 and 11.1 μm emissivities determined by the improved initialization inversion of TIROS-N Operational Vertical Sounder observations. J. Geophys. Res. 104:3179331808.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Young, D. F., P. Minnis, D. Baumgardner, and H. Gerber. 1998. Comparison of in situ and satellite-derived cloud properties during SUCCESS. Geophys. Res. Lett. 25:11251128.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 326 95 10
PDF Downloads 28 8 0