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Xiquan Dong
and
Gerald G. Mace

Abstract

The microwave radiometer–derived cloud liquid water path (LWP) and a profile of radar reflectivity are used to derive a profile of cloud liquid water content (LWC). Two methods (M1 and M2) have been developed for inferring the profile of cloud-droplet effective radius (re) in liquid phase or liquid dominant mixed phase stratocumulus clouds. The M1-inferred re profile is proportional to a previously derived layer-mean re and to the ratio of the radar reflectivity to the integrated radar reflectivity. This algorithm is independent of the radar calibration and is applicable to overcast low-level stratus clouds that occur during the day because it is dependent on solar transmission observations. In order to extend the retrieval algorithm to a wider range of conditions, a second method is described that uses an empirical relationship between effective radius and radar reflectivity based on theory and the results of M1. Sensitivity studies show that the surface-retrieved re is more sensitive to the variation of radar reflectivity when the radar reflectivity is large, and the uncertainties of retrieved re related to the assumed vertically constant cloud-droplet number concentration and shape of the size distribution are about 9% and 2%, respectively. For validation, a total of 10 h of aircraft data and 36 h of surface data were collected over the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) program's Southern Great Plains (SGP) site during the March 2000 cloud intensive observational period (IOP). More detailed comparisons in two cases quantify the agreement between the aircraft data and the surface retrievals. When the temporal averages of the two datasets increase from 1 min to 30 min, the means and standard deviations of differences between the two datasets decrease from −2.5% ± 84% to 1.3% ± 42.6% and their corresponding correlation coefficients increase from 0.47 to 0.8 for LWC; and decrease from −4.8% ± 36.4% to −3.3% ± 22.5% with increased coefficients from 0.64 to 0.94 for re (both M1 and M2). The agreement between the aircraft and surface data in the 30-min averages suggests that the two platforms are capable of characterizing the cloud microphysics over this temporal scale. On average, the surface retrievals are unbiased relative to the aircraft in situ measurements. However, when only the 1-min averaged aircraft data within 3 km of the surface site were selected, the means and standard deviations of differences between the two datasets are larger (23.4% ± 113% for LWC and 28.3% ± 60.7% for re) and their correlation coefficients are smaller (0.32 for LWC and 0.3 for re) than those from all 1-min samples. This result suggests that restricting the comparison to the samples better matched in space and time between the surface and aircraft data does not result in a better comparison.

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Gerald G. Mace
and
Sally Benson-Troth

Abstract

Assumptions regarding the vertical overlap characteristics of horizontal cloudy layers have been shown to be important to both the radiation transfer and the cloud microphysics that are predicted in general circulation models. Certain reasonable assumptions regarding cloud-layer overlap have been applied in models up to now where vertically continuous cloudy layers were assumed to overlap maximally leading to a minimum in cloud cover, and layers separated by noncloudy layers were assumed to overlap randomly. However, these assumptions have not been systematically evaluated with a comprehensive dataset that can resolve simultaneously occurring cloud layers. Presented here is an analysis of cloud-layer overlap characteristics derived from 103 months of cloud radar data collected by continuously operating millimeter-wavelength instruments deployed at the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) sites in the Tropics, middle latitudes, and the Arctic. Using an approach recently proposed by Hogan and Illingworth, it is shown that an assumption of random overlap for layers separated by noncloudy layers is supported by observations. However, that the overlap characteristics of vertically continuous layers cannot be considered maximal is also shown. Indeed, vertically continuous cloudy layers do not appear to lend themselves to a simple overlap assumption. Therefore, to avoid significant biases in diagnosed cloud cover, the overlap properties of these layers in models will need to be parameterized. It is shown that the cloud-layer overlap characteristics in the middle latitudes do appear to be a strong function of season, suggesting that an overlap parameterization in terms of cloud system type may be possible.

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Xiquan Dong
and
Gerald G. Mace

Abstract

A record of single-layer and overcast low-level Arctic stratus cloud properties has been generated using data collected from May to September 2000 at the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) North Slope of Alaska (NSA) (71.3°N, 156.6°W) site near Barrow, Alaska. The record includes liquid-phase and liquid dominant mixed-phase Arctic stratus macrophysical, microphysical, and radiative properties, as well as surface radiation budget and cloud radiative forcing. The macrophysical properties consist of cloud fractions, cloud-base/top heights and temperatures, and cloud thickness derived from a ground-based radar and lidar pair, and rawinsonde sounding. The microphysical properties include cloud liquid water path and content, and cloud-droplet effective radius and number concentration obtained from microwave radiometer brightness temperature measurements, and the new cloud parameterization. The radiative properties contain cloud optical depth, effective solar transmission, and surface/cloud/top-of-atmosphere albedos derived from the new cloud parameterization and standard Epply precision spectral pyranometers. The shortwave, longwave, and net cloud radiative forcings at the surface are inferred from measurements by standard Epply precision spectral pyranometers and pyrgeometers. There are approximately 300 h and more than 3600 samples (5-min resolution) of single-layer and overcast low-level stratus during the study period. The 10-day averaged total and low-level cloud (Z top < 3 km) fractions are 0.87 and 0.55, and low-level cloud-base and -top heights are around 0.4 and 0.8 km. The cloud-droplet effective radii and number concentrations in the spring are similar to midlatitude continental stratus cloud microphysical properties, and in the summer they are similar to midlatitude marine stratus clouds. The total cloud fractions in this study show good agreement with the satellite and surface results compiled from data collected during the First International Satellite Cloud Climatology Project (ISCCP) Regional Experiment (FIRE) Arctic Cloud Experiment (ACE) and the Surface Heat Budget of the Arctic Ocean (SHEBA) (∼77°N, 165°W) field experiments in 1998. The cloud microphysics derived from this study are similar, in general, to those collected in past field programs, although these comparisons are based on data collected at different locations and years. At the ARM NSA site, the summer cooling period is much longer (2–3 months vs 1–2 weeks), and the summer cooling magnitude is much larger (−100 W m−2 vs −5 W m−2) than at the SHEBA ship under the conditions of all skies at the SHEBA and overcast low-level stratus clouds at the NSA site.

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Gerald G. Mace
and
Sally Benson

Abstract

Data collected at the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) Program ground sites allow for the description of the atmospheric thermodynamic state, cloud occurrence, and cloud properties. This information allows for the derivation of estimates of the effects of clouds on the radiation budget of the surface and atmosphere. Herein 8 yr of continuous data collected at the ARM Southern Great Plains (SGP) Climate Research Facility (ACRF) are analyzed, and the influence of clouds on the radiative flux divergence of solar and infrared energy on annual, seasonal, and monthly time scales is documented. Given the uncertainties in derived cloud microphysical properties that result in calculated radiant flux errors, it is demonstrated that the ability to quantitatively resolve all but the largest heating and cooling influences by clouds is marginal for averaging periods less than 1 month. Concentrating on seasonal and monthly averages, it is found that the net column-integrated radiative effect of clouds on the atmosphere is nearly neutral at this middle-latitude location. However, a net heating of the upper troposphere by upper-tropospheric clouds and a cooling of the lower troposphere by boundary layer clouds is documented. The balance evolves over the course of an annual cycle as the troposphere deepens in summer and boundary layer clouds become less frequent relative to upper-tropospheric clouds. Although the top-of-atmosphere IR radiative effect is nearly invariant through the annual cycle, the seasonally varying heating profile is determined largely by the convergence of IR flux because solar heating is offset by IR cooling within the column.

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Elizabeth Berry
,
Gerald G. Mace
, and
Andrew Gettelman

Abstract

The distribution of clouds and their radiative effects in the Community Atmosphere Model, version 5 (CAM5), are compared to A-Train satellite data in Southeast Asia during the summer monsoon. Cloud radiative kernels are created based on populations of observed and modeled clouds separately in order to compare the sensitivity of the TOA radiation to changes in cloud fraction. There is generally good agreement between the observation- and model-derived cloud radiative kernels for most cloud types, meaning that the clouds in the model are heating and cooling like clouds in nature. Cloud radiative effects are assessed by multiplying the cloud radiative kernel by the cloud fraction histogram. For ice clouds in particular, there is good agreement between the model and observations, with optically thin cirrus producing a moderate warming effect and cirrostratus producing a slight cooling effect, on average. Consistent with observations, the model also shows that the median value of the ice water path (IWP) distribution, rather than the mean, is a more representative measure of the ice clouds that are responsible for heating. In addition, in both observations and the model, it is cirrus clouds with an IWP of 20 g m−2 that have the largest warming effect in this region, given their radiative heating and frequency of occurrence.

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Min Deng
,
Gerald. G. Mace
, and
Zhien Wang

Abstract

The anvil productivities of tropical deep convection are investigated and compared among eight climatological regions using 4 yr of collocated and combined CloudSat and CALIPSO data. For all regions, the convective clusters become deeper while they become wider and tend to be composed of multiple rainy cores. Two strong detrainment layers from deep convection are observed at 6–8 km and above 10 km, which is consistent with the trimodal characteristics of tropical convection that are associated with different divergence, cloud detrainment, and fractional cloudiness. The anvil productivity of tropical deep convection depends on the convection scale, convective life stage or intensity, and large-scale environment. Anvil ice mass ratio related to the whole cluster starts to level off or decrease when the cluster effective scales W eff (the dimension of an equivalent rectangular with the same volume and height as the original cluster) increase to about 200 km wide, while the ratios of anvil scale and volume keep increasing from 0.4 to 0.6 and 0.15 to 0.4, respectively. The anvil clouds above 12 km can count for more than 20% of cluster volume, or more than 50% of total anvil volume, but they only count less than about 2% of total ice mass in the cluster. Anvil production of younger convection of the same W eff is higher than that of the decaying convection. The regional difference in the composite anvil productivities of tropical convective clusters sorted by W eff is subtle, while the occurrence frequencies of different scales of convection vary substantially.

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Gerald G. Mace
,
Sally Benson
, and
Erik Vernon

Abstract

The properties of cirrus clouds observed at the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) Climate Research Facility (ACRF) in Oklahoma are documented from a nearly continuous 6-yr record of 35-GHz cloud radar data. Cirrus frequency over the ACRF is 23% and 28% of the time in the warm (May–September) and cold seasons (November–March), respectively, with maxima and minima during the period studied of 30% and 16% in the warm season and 34% and 24% in the cold seasons. Cirrus, as defined here, reveal a seasonal oscillation in their macroscale properties that can be traced to the seasonal deepening of the troposphere in the Southern Plains region. While the average bulk microphysical properties do not change significantly from season to season, the variability of certain parameters demonstrates seasonal change. It is shown that the properties of cirrus clouds vary perceptively with the large-scale vertical motion. Using NCEP–NCAR reanalysis data to define the large-scale meteorological state when cirrus are observed at the ACRF, the authors find that cirrus tend to exist within a maximum in upper-tropospheric humidity and downstream of the peak upper-tropospheric vertical motion. Cirrus that exist in large-scale ascent upstream of the synoptic-scale middle-tropospheric ridge axis are shown to have higher water contents than cirrus that exist in large-scale subsidence downstream of the ridge axis, although the overall nature of the statistical distributions of water contents do not change greatly, suggesting that it may be difficult to parameterize the properties of cirrus based solely on large-scale vertical motion. The layer-mean particle size, on the other hand, shows no such sensitivity to the large-scale vertical motion.

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Zhuocan Xu
,
Gerald G. Mace
, and
Derek J. Posselt

Abstract

A Bayesian Markov chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) algorithm is utilized to compare the skill of an A-Train-like observing system with a cloud, convection, and precipitation (CCP) observing system like that contemplated for the 2020s by the 2017 National Academy of Sciences Decadal Survey. The main objective is to demonstrate a framework for observational trade space studies. This initial work focuses on weakly precipitating warm shallow cumulus constructed from in situ data. Radiative computations are based on Mie theory with spherical assumptions. Simulated measurements in the CCP configuration consist of W- and Ka-band radar reflectivity and path-integrated attenuation, 31 and 94 GHz brightness temperatures (Tb), and visible and near-infrared reflectances. The collection of measurements in the CloudSat configuration is identical, but includes a single 94 GHz radar frequency, and the uncertainty in the 94 GHz microwave brightness temperature is increased to mimic the CloudSat Tb product. The experiments demonstrate that it remains a challenge to diagnose cloud properties in the presence of light rain because of the tendency of microwave remote sensing to respond to the higher moments of the hydrometeor populations. Rain properties are significantly better constrained than cloud properties, even in the optimal CCP configuration. The addition of Ka-band measurements places substantial constraints on the precipitation rain effective radius and rain rates. The Tb offers important information regarding the column-integrated condensate mass, the measurement accuracy of which appears more likely to affect the retrievals of clouds with low liquid water path. The constraints provided by reflectances are largely restricted to regions near the cloud top, particularly in the raining cases.

Open access
Yang Zhao
,
Gerald G. Mace
, and
Jennifer M. Comstock

Abstract

Data collected in midlatitude cirrus clouds by instruments on jet aircraft typically show particle size distributions that have distinct distribution modes in both the 10–30-μm maximum dimension (D) size range and the 200–300-μm D size range or larger. A literal interpretation of the small D mode in these datasets suggests that total concentrations Nt in midlatitude cirrus are, on average, well in excess of 1 cm−3 whereas more conventional analyses of in situ data and cloud process model results suggest Nt values a factor of 10 less. Given this wide discrepancy, questions have been raised regarding the influence of data artifacts caused by the shattering of large crystals on aircraft and probe surfaces. This inconsistency and the general nature of the cirrus particle size distribution are examined using a ground-based remote sensing dataset. An algorithm using millimeter-wavelength radar Doppler moments and Raman lidar-derived extinction is developed to retrieve a bimodal particle size distribution and its uncertainty. This algorithm is applied to case studies as well as to 313 h of cirrus measurements collected at the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement site near Lamont, Oklahoma, in 2000. It is shown that particle size distributions in cirrus can often be described as bimodal, and that this bimodality is a function of temperature and location within cirrus layers. However, the existence of Nt > 1 cm−3 in cirrus is rare (<1% of the time) and the Nt implied by the remote sensing data tends to be on the order of 100 cm−3.

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Gerald G. Mace
,
Min Deng
,
Brian Soden
, and
Ed Zipser

Abstract

In this paper, millimeter cloud radar (MMCR) and Geosynchronous Meteorological Satellite (GMS) data are combined to study the properties of tropical cirrus that are common in the 10–15-km layer of the tropical troposphere in the western Pacific. Millimeter cloud radar observations collected by the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement program on the islands of Manus and Nauru in the western and central equatorial Pacific during a 12-month period spanning 1999 and 2000 show differences in cirrus properties: over Manus, where clouds above 7 km are observed 48% of the time, the cirrus are thicker and warmer on average and the radar reflectivity and Doppler velocity are larger; over Nauru clouds above 7 km are observed 23% of time. To explain the differences in cloud properties, the relationship between tropical cirrus and deep convection is examined by combining the radar observations with GMS satellite-derived back trajectories. Using a data record of 1 yr, it is found that 47% of the cirrus observed over Manus can be traced to a deep convective source within the past 12 h while just 16% of the cirrus observed over Nauru appear to have a convective source within the previous 12 h. Of the cirrus that can be traced to deep convection, the evolution of the radar-observed cloud properties is examined as a function of apparent cloud age. The radar Doppler moments and ice water path of the observed cirrus at both sites generally decrease as the cirrus age increase. At Manus, it is found that cirrus during boreal winter typically advect over the site from the southeast from convection associated with the winter monsoon, while during boreal summer, the trajectories are mainly from the northeast. The properties of these two populations of cirrus are found to be different, with the winter cirrus having higher concentrations of smaller particles. Examining statistics of the regional convection using Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM), it is found that the properties of the winter monsoon convection in the cirrus source region are consistent with more intense convection compared to the convection in the summer source region.

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