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Albert Ansmann, Jens Bösenberg, Gérard Brogniez, Salem Elouragini, Pierre H. Flamant, Karlheinz Klapheck, Holger Linn, Louis Menenger, Walfried Michaelis, Maren Riebesell, Christoph Senff, Pierre-Yves Thro, Ulla Wandinger, and Claus Weitkamp


Four lidars located roughly 75 km from each other in the inner German Bight of the North Sea, were used to measure geometrical and optical properties of cirrus clouds during the International Cirrus Experiment 1989 (ICE '89). A complete cirrus life cycle was observed simultaneously with three lidan during a case study on 18 October 1989. Time series of particle backscatter, depolarization-ratio height profiles, cloud depth, optical thickness, and of the cirrus extinction-to-backscatter, or lidar, ratio describe the evolution of the cloud system. A two-wavelength lidar measurement was performed and indicates wavelength independence of ice-crystal scattering. The optical and geometrical depths of the cirrus were well correlated and varied between 0.01 and 0.5 and 100 m and 4.5 km, respectively. Although the evolution of the cloud deck was similar over the different observation sites, cirrus geometrical, scattering, and microphysical properties were found to vary considerably within the lidar network. A statistical analysis of ice-cloud properties is performed based on 38 different cirrus cases sampled during ICE '89. Cirrus formation was found to start at the tropopause in most cases. Ice clouds, measured at high midlatitudes (around 54°N), were thin with mean optical and geometrical depths mainly below 0.4 and 2 km, respectively. A good correlation between mean cloud optical and geometrical thickness, and a weak decrease of the mean optical depths with temperature was observed.

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