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  • Author or Editor: Casey D. Burleyson x
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Casey D. Burleyson
and
Sandra E. Yuter

Abstract

The spatial patterns of subtropical marine stratocumulus cloud fraction variability on diurnal time scales are examined using high-temporal-resolution cloud masks that are based on 30-min, 4 km × 4 km geosynchronous infrared data for 2003–10. This dataset permits comparison of the characteristics of variability in low cloud fraction among the three subtropical marine stratocumulus regions in the northeastern (NE) Pacific, southeastern (SE) Pacific, and SE Atlantic Oceans. In all three regions, the largest diurnal cycles and earliest time of cloud breakup occur on the edges of the cloud field where cloud fractions are generally lower. The rate at which the cloud breaks up during the day is tied to the starting cloud fraction at dawn, which determines the amount of longwave cooling that is initially available to offset shortwave radiative fluxes during the day. The maximum rate of cloud breakup occurs near 1200 LT. Cloud fraction begins to increase by 1600 LT (before the sun sets) and reaches its maximum value just before dawn. The diurnal-cycle characteristics of the SE Pacific and SE Atlantic marine stratocumulus cloud decks are more similar to each other than to those in the NE Pacific. The NE Pacific cloud deck has a smaller-amplitude diurnal cycle, slower rates of cloud breakup during the day for a given cloud fraction at dawn, and a higher probability of cloud breakup overnight.

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Casey D. Burleyson
,
Charles N. Long
, and
Jennifer M. Comstock

Abstract

Cloud radiative effects are examined using long-term datasets collected at the U.S. Department of Energy’s three Atmospheric Radiation Measurement Program Climate Research Facilities in the tropical western Pacific Ocean. The surface radiation budget, cloud populations, and cloud radiative effects are quantified by partitioning the data by cloud type, time of day, and large-scale modes of variability such as El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) phase and wet/dry seasons at Darwin, Australia. The novel aspect of this analysis is the breakdown of aggregate cloud radiative effects by cloud type across the diurnal cycle. The Nauru Island (Republic of Nauru) cloud populations and subsequently the surface radiation budget are strongly impacted by ENSO variability, whereas the cloud populations over Manus Island (Papua New Guinea) shift only slightly in response to changes in ENSO phase. The Darwin site exhibits large seasonal monsoon-related variations. When present, deeper convective clouds have a strong influence on the amount of radiation that reaches the surface. Their limited frequency reduces their aggregate radiative impact, however. The largest source of shortwave cloud radiative effects at all three sites comes from low clouds. The observations are used to demonstrate that potential model biases in the amplitude of the diurnal cycle and mean cloud frequency would lead to larger errors in the surface energy budget when compared with biases in the timing of the diurnal cycle of cloud frequency. These results provide solid benchmarks to evaluate model simulations of cloud radiative effects in the tropics.

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Casey D. Burleyson
,
Zhe Feng
,
Samson M. Hagos
,
Jerome Fast
,
Luiz A. T. Machado
, and
Scot T. Martin

Abstract

The isolation of the Amazon rain forest makes it challenging to observe precipitation forming there, but it also creates a natural laboratory to study anthropogenic impacts on clouds and precipitation in an otherwise pristine environment. Observations were collected upwind and downwind of Manaus, Brazil, during the “Observations and Modeling of the Green Ocean Amazon 2014–2015” experiment (GoAmazon2014/5). Besides aircraft, most of the observations were point measurements made in a spatially heterogeneous environment, making it hard to distinguish anthropogenic signals from naturally occurring spatial variability. In this study, 15 years of satellite data are used to examine the spatial and temporal variability of deep convection around the GoAmazon2014/5 sites using cold cloud tops (infrared brightness temperatures colder than 240 K) as a proxy for deep convection. During the rainy season, convection associated with the inland propagation of the previous day’s sea-breeze front is in phase with the diurnal cycle of deep convection near Manaus but is out of phase a few hundred kilometers to the east and west. Convergence between the river breezes and the easterly trade winds generates afternoon convection up to 10% more frequently (on average ~4 mm day−1 more intense rainfall) at the GoAmazon2014/5 sites east of the Negro River (T0e, T0t/k, and T1) relative to the T3 site, which was located west of the river. In general, the annual and diurnal cycles of precipitation during 2014 were similar to climatological values that are based on satellite data from 2000 to 2013.

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