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  • Author or Editor: Zachary J. Lebo x
  • Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society x
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Matthew R. Kumjian
,
Kevin A. Bowley
,
Paul M. Markowski
,
Kelly Lombardo
,
Zachary J. Lebo
, and
Pavlos Kollias
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Timothy W. Juliano
,
Zachary J. Lebo
,
Gregory Thompson
, and
David A. Rahn

Abstract

The ability of global climate models to simulate accurately marine stratiform clouds continues to challenge the atmospheric science community. These cloud types, which account for a large uncertainty in Earth’s radiation budget, are generally difficult to characterize due to their shallowness and spatial inhomogeneity. Previous work investigating marine boundary layer (MBL) clouds off the California coast has focused on clouds that form under the typical northerly flow regime during the boreal warm season. From about June through September, however, these northerly winds may reverse and become southerly as part of a coastally trapped disturbance (CTD). As the flow surges northward, it is accompanied by a broad cloud deck. Because these events are difficult to forecast, in situ observations of CTDs are few and far between, and little is known about their cloud physical properties. A climatological perspective of 23 CTD events—spanning the years from 2004 to 2016—is presented using several data products, including model reanalyses, buoys, and satellites. For the first time, satellite retrievals suggest that CTD cloud decks may play a unique role in the radiation budget due to a combination of aerosol sources that enhance cloud droplet number concentration and reduce cloud droplet effective radius. This particular type of cloud regime should therefore be treated differently than that which is more commonly found in the summertime months over the northeast Pacific Ocean. The potential influence of a coherent wind stress cycle on sea surface temperatures and sea salt aerosol is also explored.

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