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  • Author or Editor: Sally A. McFarlane x
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Liping Deng, Sally A. McFarlane, and Julia E. Flaherty


Ground-based high temporal and vertical resolution datasets from observations during 2002–07 at the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) tropical western Pacific (TWP) site on Manus Island are used to examine the characteristics of clouds and rainfall associated with the active phase of the Madden–Julian oscillation (MJO) passing over Manus. A composite MJO event at Manus is developed based on the NOAA MJO index 4 and precipitation using 13 events. The cloud characteristics associated with the active phase of the MJO at Manus show a two-phase structure as the wave passes over Manus. During the development phase, congestus plays an important role, and the enhanced convection is located between surface westerly and easterly wind anomalies (type-I structure). During the mature phase, deep convection is the dominant cloud type, and the enhanced convection is collocated with the westerly wind anomalies (type-II structure). Consistent with this two-phase structure, the heavy rainfall frequency also shows a two-peak structure during the MJO disturbance, while light rainfall does not show a clear relation to the intraseasonal disturbance associated with the MJO. In addition, a positive relationship between the precipitation rate and precipitable water vapor exists at Manus, and the atmospheric column is less moist after the passing of the MJO convection center than before.

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Laura D. Riihimaki, Sally A. McFarlane, and Jennifer M. Comstock


A 4-yr climatology of midlevel clouds is presented from vertically pointing cloud lidar and radar measurements at the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement Program (ARM) site at Darwin, Australia. Few studies exist of tropical midlevel clouds using a dataset of this length. Seventy percent of clouds with top heights between 4 and 8 km are less than 2 km thick. These thin layer clouds have a peak in cloud-top temperature around the melting level (0°C) and also a second peak around −12.5°C. The diurnal frequency of thin clouds is highest during the night and reaches a minimum around noon, consistent with variation caused by solar heating. Using a 1.5-yr subset of the observations, the authors found that thin clouds have a high probability of containing supercooled liquid water at low temperatures: ~20% of clouds at −30°C, ~50% of clouds at −20°C, and ~65% of clouds at −10°C contain supercooled liquid water. The authors hypothesize that thin midlevel clouds formed at the melting level are formed differently during active and break monsoon periods and test this over three monsoon seasons. A greater frequency of thin midlevel clouds are likely formed by increased condensation following the latent cooling of melting during active monsoon periods when stratiform precipitation is most frequent. This is supported by the high percentage (65%) of midlevel clouds with preceding stratiform precipitation and the high frequency of stable layers slightly warmer than 0°C. In the break monsoon, a distinct peak in the frequency of stable layers at 0°C matches the peak in thin midlevel cloudiness, consistent with detrainment from convection.

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