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A. Protat
,
S. A. Young
,
S. A. McFarlane
,
T. L’Ecuyer
,
G. G. Mace
,
J. M. Comstock
,
C. N. Long
,
E. Berry
, and
J. Delanoë

Abstract

The objective of this paper is to investigate whether estimates of the cloud frequency of occurrence and associated cloud radiative forcing as derived from ground-based and satellite active remote sensing and radiative transfer calculations can be reconciled over a well-instrumented active remote sensing site located in Darwin, Australia, despite the very different viewing geometry and instrument characteristics. It is found that the ground-based radar–lidar combination at Darwin does not detect most of the cirrus clouds above 10 km (because of limited lidar detection capability and signal obscuration by low-level clouds) and that the CloudSat radar–Cloud–Aerosol Lidar with Orthogonal Polarization (CALIOP) combination underreports the hydrometeor frequency of occurrence below 2-km height because of instrument limitations at these heights. The radiative impact associated with these differences in cloud frequency of occurrence is large on the surface downwelling shortwave fluxes (ground and satellite) and the top-of-atmosphere upwelling shortwave and longwave fluxes (ground). Good agreement is found for other radiative fluxes. Large differences in radiative heating rate as derived from ground and satellite radar–lidar instruments and radiative transfer calculations are also found above 10 km (up to 0.35 K day−1 for the shortwave and 0.8 K day−1 for the longwave). Given that the ground-based and satellite estimates of cloud frequency of occurrence and radiative impact cannot be fully reconciled over Darwin, caution should be exercised when evaluating the representation of clouds and cloud–radiation interactions in large-scale models, and limitations of each set of instrumentation should be considered when interpreting model–observation differences.

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Qing Yue
,
K. N. Liou
,
S. C. Ou
,
B. H. Kahn
,
P. Yang
, and
G. G. Mace

Abstract

A thin cirrus cloud thermal infrared radiative transfer model has been developed for application to cloudy satellite data assimilation. This radiation model was constructed by combining the Optical Path Transmittance (OPTRAN) model, developed for the speedy calculation of transmittances in clear atmospheres, and a thin cirrus cloud parameterization using a number of observed ice crystal size and shape distributions. Numerical simulations show that cirrus cloudy radiances in the 800–1130-cm−1 thermal infrared window are sufficiently sensitive to variations in cirrus optical depth and ice crystal size as well as in ice crystal shape if appropriate habit distribution models are selected a priori for analysis. The parameterization model has been applied to the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) on board the Aqua satellite to interpret clear and thin cirrus spectra observed in the thermal infrared window. Five clear and 29 thin cirrus cases at nighttime over and near the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement program (ARM) tropical western Pacific (TWP) Manus Island and Nauru Island sites have been chosen for this study. A χ2 -minimization program was employed to infer the cirrus optical depth and ice crystal size and shape from the observed AIRS spectra. Independent validation shows that the AIRS-inferred cloud parameters are consistent with those determined from collocated ground-based millimeter-wave cloud radar measurements. The coupled thin cirrus radiative transfer parameterization and OPTRAN, if combined with a reliable thin cirrus detection scheme, can be effectively used to enhance the AIRS data volume for data assimilation in numerical weather prediction models.

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E. E. Clothiaux
,
G. G. Mace
,
T. P. Ackerman
,
T. J. Kane
,
J. D. Spinhirne
, and
V. S. Scott

Abstract

A cloud detection algorithm for a low power micropulse lidar is presented that attempts to identify all of the significant power returns from the vertical column above the lidar at all times. The main feature of the algorithm is construction of lidar power return profiles during periods of clear sky against which cloudy-sky power returns are compared. This algorithm supplements algorithms designed to detect cloud-base height in that the tops of optically thin clouds are identified and it provides an alternative approach to algorithms that identify significant power returns by analysis of changes in the slope of the backscattered powers with height. The cloud-base heights produced by the current algorithm during nonprecipitating periods are comparable with the results of a cloud-base height algorithm applied to the same data. Although an objective validation of algorithm performance on high, thin cirrus is lacking because of no truth data, the current algorithm produces few false positive and false negative classifications as determined through manual comparison of the original photoelectron count data to the final cloud mask image.

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Sergey Y. Matrosov
,
Gerald G. Mace
,
Roger Marchand
,
Matthew D. Shupe
,
Anna G. Hallar
, and
Ian B. McCubbin

Abstract

Scanning polarimetric W-band radar data were evaluated for the purpose of identifying predominant ice hydrometeor habits. Radar and accompanying cloud microphysical measurements were conducted during the Storm Peak Laboratory Cloud Property Validation Experiment held in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, during the winter season of 2010/11. The observed ice hydrometeor habits ranged from pristine and rimed dendrites/stellars to aggregates, irregulars, graupel, columns, plates, and particle mixtures. The slant 45° linear depolarization ratio (SLDR) trends as a function of the radar elevation angle are indicative of the predominant hydrometeor habit/shape. For planar particles, SLDR values increase from values close to the radar polarization cross coupling of about −21.8 dB at zenith viewing to maximum values at slant viewing. These maximum values depend on predominant aspect ratio and bulk density of hydrometeors and also show some sensitivity to particle characteristic size. The highest observed SLDRs were around −8 dB for pristine dendrites. Unlike planar-type hydrometeors, columnar-type particles did not exhibit pronounced depolarization trends as a function of viewing direction. A difference in measured SLDR values between zenith and slant viewing can be used to infer predominant aspect ratios of planar hydrometeors if an assumption about their bulk density is made. For columnar hydrometeors, SLDR offsets from the cross-coupling value are indicative of aspect ratios. Experimental data were analyzed for a number of events with prevalence of planar-type hydrometeors and also for observations when columnar particles were the dominant species. A relatively simple spheroidal model and accompanying T-matrix calculations were able to approximate most radar depolarization changes with viewing angle observed for different hydrometeor types.

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C. N. Long
,
S. A. McFarlane
,
A. Del Genio
,
P. Minnis
,
T. P. Ackerman
,
J. Mather
,
J. Comstock
,
G. G. Mace
,
M. Jensen
, and
C. Jakob

The tropical western Pacific (TWP) is an important climatic region. Strong solar heating, warm sea surface temperatures, and the annual progression of the intertropical convergence zone (ITCZ) across this region generate abundant convective systems, which through their effects on the heat and water budgets have a profound impact on global climate and precipitation. In order to accurately evaluate tropical cloud systems in models, measurements of tropical clouds, the environment in which they reside, and their impact on the radiation and water budgets are needed. Because of the remote location, ground-based datasets of cloud, atmosphere, and radiation properties from the TWP region have come primarily from shortterm field experiments. While providing extremely useful information on physical processes, these short-term datasets are limited in statistical and climatological information. To provide longterm measurements of the surface radiation budget in the tropics and the atmospheric properties that affect it, the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement program established a measurement site on Manus Island, Papua New Guinea, in 1996 and on the island republic of Nauru in late 1998. These sites provide unique datasets now available for more than 10 years on Manus and Nauru. This article presents examples of the scientific use of these datasets including characterization of cloud properties, analysis of cloud radiative forcing, model studies of tropical clouds and processes, and validation of satellite algorithms. New instrumentation recently installed at the Manus site will provide expanded opportunities for tropical atmospheric science.

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Kenneth Sassen
,
Gerald G. Mace
,
Zhien Wang
,
Michael R. Poellot
,
Stephen M. Sekelsky
, and
Robert E. McIntosh

Abstract

A continental stratus cloud layer was studied by advanced ground-based remote sensing instruments and aircraft probes on 30 April 1994 from the Cloud and Radiation Testbed site in north-central Oklahoma. The boundary layer structure clearly resembled that of a cloud-topped mixed layer, and the cloud content is shown to be near adiabatic up to the cloud-top entrainment zone. A cloud retrieval algorithm using the radar reflectivity and cloud droplet concentration (either measured in situ or deduced using dual-channel microwave radiometer data) is applied to construct uniquely high-resolution cross sections of liquid water content and mean droplet radius. The combined evidence indicates that the 350–600 m deep, slightly supercooled (2.0° to −2.0°C) cloud, which failed to produce any detectable ice or drizzle particles, contained an average droplet concentration of 347 cm−3, and a maximum liquid water content of 0.8 g m−3 and mean droplet radius of 9 μm near cloud top. Lidar data indicate that the Ka-band radar usually detected the cloud-base height to within ∼50 m, such that the radar insensitivity to small cloud droplets had a small impact on the findings. Radar-derived liquid water paths ranged from 71 to 259 g m−2 as the stratus deck varied, which is in excellent agreement with dual-channel microwave radiometer data, but ∼20% higher than that measured in situ. This difference appears to be due to the undersampling of the few largest cloud droplets by the aircraft probes. This combination of approaches yields a unique image of the content of a continental stratus cloud, as well as illustrating the utility of modern remote sensing systems for probing nonprecipitating water clouds.

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Xiquan Dong
,
Gerald G. Mace
,
Patrick Minnis
,
William L. Smith Jr.,
,
Michael Poellot
,
Roger T. Marchand
, and
Anita D. Rapp

Abstract

Low-level stratus cloud microphysical properties derived from surface and Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) data during the March 2000 cloud intensive observational period (IOP) at the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) program Southern Great Plains (SGP) site are compared with aircraft in situ measurements. For the surface retrievals, the cloud droplet effective radius and optical depth are retrieved from a δ2-stream radiative transfer model with the input of ground-based measurements, and the cloud liquid water path (LWP) is retrieved from ground-based microwave-radiometer-measured brightness temperature. The satellite results, retrieved from GOES visible, solar-infrared, and infrared radiances, are averaged in a 0.5° × 0.5° box centered on the ARM SGP site. The forward scattering spectrometer probe (FSSP) on the University of North Dakota Citation aircraft provided in situ measurements of the cloud microphysical properties. During the IOP, four low-level stratus cases were intensively observed by the ground- and satellite-based remote sensors and aircraft in situ instruments resulting in a total of 10 h of simultaneous data from the three platforms. In spite of the large differences in temporal and spatial resolution between surface, GOES, and aircraft, the surface retrievals have excellent agreement with the aircraft data overall for the entire 10-h period, and the GOES results agree reasonably well with the surface and aircraft data and have similar trends and magnitudes except for the GOES-derived effective radii, which are typically larger than the surface- and aircraft-derived values. The means and standard deviations of the differences between the surface and aircraft effective radius, LWP, and optical depth are −4% ± 20.1%, −1% ± 31.2%, and 8% ± 29.3%, respectively; while their correlation coefficients are 0.78, 0.92, and 0.89, respectively, during the 10-h period. The differences and correlations between the GOES-8 and aircraft results are of a similar magnitude, except for the droplet sizes. The averaged GOES-derived effective radius is 23% or 1.8 μm greater than the corresponding aircraft values, resulting in a much smaller correlation coefficient of 0.18. Additional surface–satellite datasets were analyzed for time periods when the aircraft was unavailable. When these additional results are combined with the retrievals from the four in situ cases, the means and standard deviations of the differences between the satellite-derived cloud droplet effective radius, LWP, and optical depth and their surface-based counterparts are 16% ± 31.2%, 4% ± 31.6%, and −6% ± 39.9%, respectively. The corresponding correlation coefficients are 0.24, 0.88, and 0.73. The frequency distributions of the two datasets are very similar indicating that the satellite retrieval method should be able to produce reliable statistics of boundary layer cloud properties for use in climate and cloud process models.

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Kenneth Sassen
,
W. Patrick Arnott
,
David O'C. Starr
,
Gerald G. Mace
,
Zhien Wang
, and
Michael R. Poellot

Abstract

Hurricane Nora traveled up the Baja Peninsula coast in the unusually warm El Niño waters of September 1997 until rapidly decaying as it approached southern California on 24 September. The anvil cirrus blowoff from the final surge of tropical convection became embedded in subtropical flow that advected the cirrus across the western United States, where it was studied from the Facility for Atmospheric Remote Sensing (FARS) in Salt Lake City, Utah, on 25 September. A day later, the cirrus shield remnants were redirected southward by midlatitude circulations into the southern Great Plains, providing a case study opportunity for the research aircraft and ground-based remote sensors assembled at the Clouds and Radiation Testbed (CART) site in northern Oklahoma. Using these comprehensive resources and new remote sensing cloud retrieval algorithms, the microphysical and radiative cloud properties of this unusual cirrus event are uniquely characterized.

Importantly, at both the FARS and CART sites the cirrus generated spectacular halos and arcs, which acted as a tracer for the hurricane cirrus, despite the limited lifetimes of individual ice crystals. Lidar depolarization data indicate widespread regions of uniform ice plate orientations, and in situ particle replicator data show a preponderance of pristine, solid hexagonal plates and columns. It is suggested that these unusual aspects are the result of the mode of cirrus particle nucleation, presumably involving the lofting of sea salt nuclei in strong thunderstorm updrafts into the upper troposphere. This created a reservoir of haze particles that continued to produce halide-salt-contaminated ice crystals during the extended period of cirrus cloud maintenance. The inference that marine microbiota are embedded in the replicas of some ice crystals collected over the CART site points to the longevity of marine effects. Various nucleation scenarios proposed for cirrus clouds based on this and other studies, and the implications for understanding cirrus radiative properties on a global scale, are discussed.

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Maximilian Maahn
,
David D. Turner
,
Ulrich Löhnert
,
Derek J. Posselt
,
Kerstin Ebell
,
Gerald G. Mace
, and
Jennifer M. Comstock
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Catherine M. Naud
,
Anthony Del Genio
,
Gerald G. Mace
,
Sally Benson
,
Eugene E. Clothiaux
, and
Pavlos Kollias

Abstract

The observation and representation in general circulation models (GCMs) of cloud vertical overlap are the objects of active research due to their impacts on the earth’s radiative budget. Previous studies have found that vertically contiguous cloudy layers show a maximum overlap between layers up to several kilometers apart but tend toward a random overlap as separations increase. The decorrelation length scale that characterizes the progressive transition from maximum to random overlap changes from one location and season to another and thus may be influenced by large-scale vertical motion, wind shear, or convection. Observations from the U.S. Department of Energy Atmospheric Radiation Measurement program ground-based radars and lidars in midlatitude and tropical locations in combination with reanalysis meteorological fields are used to evaluate how dynamics and atmospheric state influence cloud overlap. For midlatitude winter months, strong synoptic-scale upward motion maintains conditions closer to maximum overlap at large separations. In the tropics, overlap becomes closer to maximum as convective stability decreases. In midlatitude subsidence and tropical convectively stable situations, where a smooth transition from maximum to random overlap is found on average, large wind shears sometimes favor minimum overlap. Precipitation periods are discarded from the analysis but, when included, maximum overlap occurs more often at large separations. The results suggest that a straightforward modification of the existing GCM mixed maximum–random overlap parameterization approach that accounts for environmental conditions can capture much of the important variability and is more realistic than approaches that are only based on an exponential decay transition from maximum to random overlap.

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