A Cloud Climatology of the Southern Great Plains ARM CART

Steven M. Lazarus Department of Meteorology, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah

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Steven K. Krueger Department of Meteorology, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah

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Gerald G. Mace Department of Meteorology, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah

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Abstract

Cloud amount statistics from three different sources were processed and compared. Surface observations from a National Centers for Environmental Prediction dataset were used. The data (Edited Cloud Report; ECR) consist of synoptic weather reports that have been edited to facilitate cloud analysis. Two stations near the Southern Great Plains (SGP) Cloud and Radiation Test Bed (CART) in north-central Oklahoma (Oklahoma City, Oklahoma and Wichita, Kansas) were selected. The ECR data span a 10-yr period from December 1981 to November 1991. The International Satellite Cloud Climatology Project (ISCCP) provided cloud amounts over the SGP CART for an 8-yr period (1983–91). Cloud amounts were also obtained from Micro Pulse Lidar (MPL) and Belfort Ceilometer (BLC) cloud-base height measurements made at the SGP CART over a 1-yr period. The annual and diurnal cycles of cloud amount as a function of cloud height and type were analyzed. The three datasets closely agree for total cloud amount. Good agreement was found in the ECR and MPL–BLC monthly low cloud amounts. With the exception of summer and midday in other seasons, the ISCCP low cloud amount estimates are generally 5%–10% less than the others. The ECR high cloud amount estimates are typically 10%–15% greater than those obtained from either the ISCCP or MPL–BLC datasets. The observed diurnal variations of altocumulus support the authors’ model results of radiatively induced circulations.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Steven Lazarus, Department of Meteorology, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT 84112-0110.

Email: slazarus@atmos.met.utah.edu

Abstract

Cloud amount statistics from three different sources were processed and compared. Surface observations from a National Centers for Environmental Prediction dataset were used. The data (Edited Cloud Report; ECR) consist of synoptic weather reports that have been edited to facilitate cloud analysis. Two stations near the Southern Great Plains (SGP) Cloud and Radiation Test Bed (CART) in north-central Oklahoma (Oklahoma City, Oklahoma and Wichita, Kansas) were selected. The ECR data span a 10-yr period from December 1981 to November 1991. The International Satellite Cloud Climatology Project (ISCCP) provided cloud amounts over the SGP CART for an 8-yr period (1983–91). Cloud amounts were also obtained from Micro Pulse Lidar (MPL) and Belfort Ceilometer (BLC) cloud-base height measurements made at the SGP CART over a 1-yr period. The annual and diurnal cycles of cloud amount as a function of cloud height and type were analyzed. The three datasets closely agree for total cloud amount. Good agreement was found in the ECR and MPL–BLC monthly low cloud amounts. With the exception of summer and midday in other seasons, the ISCCP low cloud amount estimates are generally 5%–10% less than the others. The ECR high cloud amount estimates are typically 10%–15% greater than those obtained from either the ISCCP or MPL–BLC datasets. The observed diurnal variations of altocumulus support the authors’ model results of radiatively induced circulations.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Steven Lazarus, Department of Meteorology, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT 84112-0110.

Email: slazarus@atmos.met.utah.edu

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