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Polar Cloud Climatologies from ISCCP C2 and D2 Datasets

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  • 1 Department of Physics, University of Ioannina, and Foundation for Research and Technology-Hellas, Heraklion, Crete, Greece
  • | 2 Foundation for Research and Technology-Hellas, Heraklion, Crete, Greece
  • | 3 Department of Physics, University of Crete, and Foundation for Research and Technology-Hellas, Heraklion, Crete, Greece
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Abstract

A deterministic radiative transfer model along with data from the International Satellite Cloud Climatology Project (ISCCP) and the Earth Radiation Budget Experiment (ERBE) were used to examine long-term mean monthly cloud climatologies for the polar regions, as given by the ISCCP C2 and D2 datasets. Significant improvement was found in the new reprocessed D2 data in terms of comparison of model fluxes with ERBE longwave radiant exitances (LWREs) at the top-of-atmosphere (TOA) over Antarctica. This improvement results from slightly higher surface temperature values, and from larger high-level cloud amounts in the D2 than in the C2 dataset. In general, D2 gives larger cloud cover, Ac, than C2, more in the southern than in the northern polar regions, mostly attributed to high-level clouds missed by ISCCP C2. The Ac differences between C2 and D2 increase toward the South Pole and, according to the D2 data, the Arctic has only about 10% high-level cloud cover compared with 45% in Antarctica, during the polar night. Differences between C2 and D2 were also found in surface and atmospheric temperatures in the southern polar regions, producing significant differences in LWRE.

Corresponding author address: I. Vardavas, Department of Physics, University of Crete, Foundation for Research and Technology-Hellas, P.O. Box 1527, Heraklion 71110, Crete, Greece. Email: vardavas@iesl.forth.gr

Abstract

A deterministic radiative transfer model along with data from the International Satellite Cloud Climatology Project (ISCCP) and the Earth Radiation Budget Experiment (ERBE) were used to examine long-term mean monthly cloud climatologies for the polar regions, as given by the ISCCP C2 and D2 datasets. Significant improvement was found in the new reprocessed D2 data in terms of comparison of model fluxes with ERBE longwave radiant exitances (LWREs) at the top-of-atmosphere (TOA) over Antarctica. This improvement results from slightly higher surface temperature values, and from larger high-level cloud amounts in the D2 than in the C2 dataset. In general, D2 gives larger cloud cover, Ac, than C2, more in the southern than in the northern polar regions, mostly attributed to high-level clouds missed by ISCCP C2. The Ac differences between C2 and D2 increase toward the South Pole and, according to the D2 data, the Arctic has only about 10% high-level cloud cover compared with 45% in Antarctica, during the polar night. Differences between C2 and D2 were also found in surface and atmospheric temperatures in the southern polar regions, producing significant differences in LWRE.

Corresponding author address: I. Vardavas, Department of Physics, University of Crete, Foundation for Research and Technology-Hellas, P.O. Box 1527, Heraklion 71110, Crete, Greece. Email: vardavas@iesl.forth.gr

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