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  • Author or Editor: Edwin Eloranta x
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Donald Wylie
,
Edwin Eloranta
,
James D. Spinhirne
, and
Steven P. Palm

Abstract

The cloud dataset from the Geoscience Laser Altimeter System (GLAS) lidar on the Ice, Cloud, and Land Elevation Satellite (ICESat) spacecraft is compared to the cloud analysis of the Wisconsin NOAA High Resolution Infrared Radiation Sounder (HIRS) Pathfinder. This is the first global lidar dataset from a spacecraft of extended duration that can be compared to the HIRS climatology. It provides an excellent source of cloud information because it is more sensitive to clouds that are difficult to detect, namely, thin cirrus and small boundary layer clouds. The second GLAS data collection period from 1 October to 16 November 2003 was used for this comparison, and a companion dataset of the same days were analyzed with HIRS. GLAS reported cloud cover of 0.70 while HIRS reported slightly higher cloud cover of 0.75 for this period. The locations where HIRS overreported cloud cover were mainly in the Arctic and Antarctic Oceans and parts of the Tropics.

GLAS also confirms that upper-tropospheric clouds (above 6.6 km) cover about 0.33 of the earth, similar to the reports from HIRS data. Generally, the altitude of the cloud tops reported by GLAS is, on average, higher than HIRS by 0.4 to 4.5 km. The largest differences were found in the Tropics, over 4 km, while in midlatitudes average differences ranged from 0.4 to 2 km. Part of this difference in averaged cloud heights comes from GLAS finding more high cloud coverage in the Tropics, 5% on average but >13% in some areas, which weights its cloud top average more toward the high clouds than the HIRS. The diffuse character of the upper parts of high clouds over tropical oceans is also a cause for the difference in reported cloud heights.

Statistics on cloud sizes also were computed from GLAS data to estimate the errors in cloud cover reported by HIRS from its 20-km field-of-view (FOV) size. Smaller clouds are very common with one-half of all clouds being <41 km in horizontal size. But, clouds <41 km cover only 5% of the earth. Cloud coverage is dominated by larger clouds with one-half of the coverage coming from clouds >1000 km. GLAS cloud size statistics also show that HIRS possibly overreports some cloud forms by 2%–3%. Looking at groups of GLAS data 21 km long to simulate the HIRS FOV, the authors found that ∼5% are partially filled with cloud. Since HIRS does not account for the part of the FOV without cloud, it will overreport the coverage of these clouds. However, low-altitude and optically thin clouds will not be reported by HIRS if they are so small that they do not affect the upwelling radiation in the HIRS FOV enough to trigger the threshold for cloud detection. These errors are partially offing.

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Israel Silber
,
Johannes Verlinde
,
Sheng-Hung Wang
,
David H. Bromwich
,
Ann M. Fridlind
,
Maria Cadeddu
,
Edwin W. Eloranta
, and
Connor J. Flynn

Abstract

The surface downwelling longwave radiation component (LW↓) is crucial for the determination of the surface energy budget and has significant implications for the resilience of ice surfaces in the polar regions. Accurate model evaluation of this radiation component requires knowledge about the phase, vertical distribution, and associated temperature of water in the atmosphere, all of which control the LW↓ signal measured at the surface. In this study, we examine the LW↓ model errors found in the Antarctic Mesoscale Prediction System (AMPS) operational forecast model and the ERA5 model relative to observations from the ARM West Antarctic Radiation Experiment (AWARE) campaign at McMurdo Station and the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) Divide. The errors are calculated separately for observed clear-sky conditions, ice-cloud occurrences, and liquid-bearing cloud-layer (LBCL) occurrences. The analysis results show a tendency in both models at each site to underestimate the LW↓ during clear-sky conditions, high error variability (standard deviations > 20 W m−2) during any type of cloud occurrence, and negative LW↓ biases when LBCLs are observed (bias magnitudes >15 W m−2 in tenuous LBCL cases and >43 W m−2 in optically thick/opaque LBCLs instances). We suggest that a generally dry and liquid-deficient atmosphere responsible for the identified LW↓ biases in both models is the result of excessive ice formation and growth, which could stem from the model initial and lateral boundary conditions, microphysics scheme, aerosol representation, and/or limited vertical resolution.

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G. Alexander Sokolowsky
,
Eugene E. Clothiaux
,
Cory F. Baggett
,
Sukyoung Lee
,
Steven B. Feldstein
,
Edwin W. Eloranta
,
Maria P. Cadeddu
,
Nitin Bharadwaj
, and
Karen L. Johnson

Abstract

Intrusions of warm, moist air into the Arctic during winter have emerged as important contributors to Arctic surface warming. Previous studies indicate that temperature, moisture, and hydrometeor enhancements during intrusions all make contributions to surface warming via emission of radiation down to the surface. Here, datasets from instrumentation at the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement User Facility in Utqiaġvik (formerly Barrow) for the six months from November through April for the six winter seasons of 2013/14–2018/19 were used to quantify the atmospheric state. These datasets subsequently served as inputs to compute surface downwelling longwave irradiances via radiative transfer computations at 1-min intervals with different combinations of constituents over the six winter seasons. The computed six winter average irradiance with all constituents included was 205.0 W m−2, close to the average measured irradiance of 206.7 W m−2, a difference of −0.8%. During this period, water vapor was the most important contributor to the irradiance. The computed average irradiance with dry gas was 71.9 W m−2. Separately adding water vapor, liquid, or ice to the dry atmosphere led to average increases of 2.4, 1.8, and 1.6 times the dry atmosphere irradiance, respectively. During the analysis period, 15 episodes of warm, moist air intrusions were identified. During the intrusions, individual contributions from elevated temperature, water vapor, liquid water, and ice water were found to be comparable to each other. These findings indicate that all properties of the atmospheric state must be known in order to quantify the radiation coming down to the Arctic surface during winter.

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