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Cirrus Microphysical Properties and Air Motion Statistics Using Cloud Radar Doppler Moments. Part II: Climatology

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  • 1 University of Wyoming, Laramie, Wyoming
  • | 2 University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah
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Abstract

The algorithm described in Part I has been applied to the millimeter cloud radar observations from January 1999 to December 2005 at the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement Program (ARM) Southern Great Plains (SGP) and Tropical Western Pacific (including Manus and Nauru) sites. Approximately 10 000 cirrus hours from each of these sites were analyzed. Retrieved cloud properties including condensed mass, particle size, optical depth, and in-cloud vertical air motions were analyzed in terms of their geographical, seasonal, and diurnal variations. The analysis shows that tropical ice clouds observed by millimeter radar are very different from ice clouds at SGP, with the tropical clouds having slightly larger particle sizes and greater ice masses and being more likely to be associated with ascending air motions, in addition to being colder and higher in altitude. A positive residual of derived in-cloud air motion found in the tropical data likely provides evidence for lofting of air into the tropopause transition layer as a result of radiative heating. The midlatitude cirrus demonstrate strong seasonal variations with more frequent, thicker clouds occurring during the summer than during the winter. Very subtle seasonal variations are found for tropical ice clouds, and evidence is presented that cirrus properties vary interannually and are correlated with El Niño oscillations. In addition, it is found that tropical cirrus demonstrate a stronger diurnal cycle than cirrus of the midlatitudes, with the in-cloud updrafts peaking in the early afternoon.

Corresponding author address: Min Deng, Department of Atmospheric Science, University of Wyoming, 1000 E. University Ave., Laramie, WY 82071. Email: mdeng2@uwyo.edu

Abstract

The algorithm described in Part I has been applied to the millimeter cloud radar observations from January 1999 to December 2005 at the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement Program (ARM) Southern Great Plains (SGP) and Tropical Western Pacific (including Manus and Nauru) sites. Approximately 10 000 cirrus hours from each of these sites were analyzed. Retrieved cloud properties including condensed mass, particle size, optical depth, and in-cloud vertical air motions were analyzed in terms of their geographical, seasonal, and diurnal variations. The analysis shows that tropical ice clouds observed by millimeter radar are very different from ice clouds at SGP, with the tropical clouds having slightly larger particle sizes and greater ice masses and being more likely to be associated with ascending air motions, in addition to being colder and higher in altitude. A positive residual of derived in-cloud air motion found in the tropical data likely provides evidence for lofting of air into the tropopause transition layer as a result of radiative heating. The midlatitude cirrus demonstrate strong seasonal variations with more frequent, thicker clouds occurring during the summer than during the winter. Very subtle seasonal variations are found for tropical ice clouds, and evidence is presented that cirrus properties vary interannually and are correlated with El Niño oscillations. In addition, it is found that tropical cirrus demonstrate a stronger diurnal cycle than cirrus of the midlatitudes, with the in-cloud updrafts peaking in the early afternoon.

Corresponding author address: Min Deng, Department of Atmospheric Science, University of Wyoming, 1000 E. University Ave., Laramie, WY 82071. Email: mdeng2@uwyo.edu

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