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I. Gultepe and D. O'C. Starr

Abstract

Aircraft data collected during the First International Satellite Cloud Climatology Project Regional Experiment (FIRE)I are used to examine dynamical processes operating in cirrus cloud systems observed on 19 and 28 October 1986. Measurements from Lagrangian spiral soundings and constant-altitude flight legs are analyzed. Comparisons are made with observations in clear air. Each cirrus case contained a statically stable layer, a conditionally unstable or neutrally stratified layer (ice pseudoadiabatic) in which convection was prevalent, and a neutral layer in which convection was intermittent. The analysis indicates that a mixture of phenomena occurred including small-scale convective cells, gravity waves (λ≈2–9 km), quasi-two-dimensional waves (λ≈10–20 km), and larger two-dimensional mesoscale waves (λ≈100 km). The intermediate-scale waves, observed both in clear air and in the cloud systems, likely played an important role in the development of the cloud systems given the magnitude of the associated vertical air velocity. The spectra of perturbations of wind components for layers where convection was prevalent were characterized by a κ−5/3 power law dependence, while a κ−2/4 dependence was found at other levels in the cloud systems. A steeper spectral slope (κ−3) was found in the more stable cloud-base layer on 19 October. Samples in clear air also showed a (κ−2.4) dependence. Flight-leg-averaged eddy potential heat fluxes (H=±8 W m−2) were comparable to observations in marine stratocumulus clouds. Calculated turbulence dissipation rates agree with previously published studies, which indicate a general enhancement within cloud systems (10−6 to 10−3 m2 s−3 in cloud versus values less than 0.5×10−6 m2 s−3 in clear air).

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R. A. Ferrare, S. H. Melfi, D. N. Whiteman, K. D. Evans, F. J. Schmidlin, and D. O'C. Starr

Abstract

This paper examines the calibration characteristics of the NASA/GSFC Raman water vapor lidar during three field experiments that occurred between 1991 and 1993. The lidar water vapor profiles are calibrated using relative humidity profiles measured by AIR and Vaisala radiosondes. The lidar calibration computed using the AIR radiosonde, which uses a carbon hygristor to measure relative humidity, was 3%–5% higher than that computed using the Vaisala radiosonde, which uses a thin film capacitive element. These systematic differences were obtained for relative humidities above 30% and so cannot be explained by the known poor low relative humidity measurements associated with the carbon hygristor. The lidar calibration coefficient was found to vary by less than 1% over this period when determined using the Vaisala humidity data and by less than 5% when using the AIR humidity data. The differences between the lidar relative humidity profiles and those measured by these radiosondes are also examined. These lidar–radiosonde comparisons are used in combination with a numerical model of the lidar system to assess the altitude range of the GSFC lidar. The model results as well as the radiosonde comparisons indicate that for a lidar located at sea level measuring a typical midlatitude water vapor profile, the absolute error in relative humidity for a 10-min, 75-m resolution profile is less than 10% for altitudes below 8.5 km. Model results show that this maximum altitude can be extended to 10 km by increasing the averaging time and/or reducing the range resolution.

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I. Gultepe, D. O'C. Starr, A. J. Heymsfield, T. Uttal, T. P. Ackerman, and D. L. WestPhal

Abstract

Cirrus clouds that formed on 26 November and 6 December 1991 during the First International Satellite Cloud Climatology Project Regional Experiment (FIRE) II, which took place over the Kansas region. are studied because of significant dynamic activity in the micro (<1 km) and meso γ (<25 km) scales within the cloud. Observations are obtained from the NCAR King Air, NOAA Doppler, and PSU conventional radar. For this reason coherent structures (e.g., cells, vortex) that transfer significant heat, moisture, and turbulence are analyzed using aircraft and radar observations. Aircraft data is collected at 20 Hz, and calculations are made at two different scales. Scale separation is chosen at about 1 km. A coherence analysis technique is used to specify the correlation between temperature and vertical velocity w fluctuations. A swirling coefficient, indicating spirality, is calculated to better understand cloud dynamics. Sensible heat, latent heat, and radiative fluxes are compared with each other in two scales. Results showed that dynamic activity, including w about ±1.5 m s−1, and mean sensible heat fluxes (SHFs) and latent heat fluxes (LHFs) ∼10 W m−2 is estimated to be much larger for the 26 November case compared to the 6 December case. The swirling coefficient is estimated to be larger in upper and lower levels compared to those in middle levels for both days. Individual values of SHFs and LHFs are also found to be comparable with those of FIRE I. The size of coherent structures is estimated from aircraft and radar measurements to be about 0.5 and 3.5 km.

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B. B. Demoz, D. O’C. Starr, K. D. Evans, A. R. Lare, D. N. Whiteman, G. Schwemmer, R. A. Ferrare, J. E. M. Goldsmith, and S. E. Bisson

Abstract

Detailed observations of the interactions of a cold front and a dryline over the central United States that led to dramatic undulations in the boundary layer, including an undular bore, are investigated using high-resolution water vapor mixing ratio profiles measured by Raman lidars. The lidar-derived water vapor mixing ratio profiles revealed the complex interaction between a dryline and a cold-frontal system. An elevated, well-mixed, and deep midtropospheric layer, as well as a sharp transition (between 5- and 6-km altitude) to a drier region aloft, was observed. The moisture oscillations due to the undular bore and the mixing of the prefrontal air mass with the cold air at the frontal surface are all well depicted. The enhanced precipitable water vapor and roll clouds, the undulations associated with the bore, the strong vertical circulation and mixing that led to the increase in the depth of the low-level moist layer, and the subsequent lifting of this moist layer by the cold-frontal surface, as well as the feeder flow behind the cold front, are clearly indicated.

A synthesis of the Raman lidar–measured water vapor mixing ratio profiles, satellite, radiometer, tower, and Oklahoma Mesonet data indicated that the undular bore was triggered by the approaching cold front and propagated south-southeastward. The observed and calculated bore speeds were in reasonable agreement. Wave-ducting analysis showed that favorable wave-trapping mechanisms existed; a low-level stable layer capped by an inversion, a well-mixed midtropospheric layer, and wind curvature from a low-level jet were found.

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Bruce A. Wielicki, J.T. Suttles, Andrew J. Heymsfield, Ronald M. Welch, James D. Spinhirne, Man-Li C. Wu, David O'C. Starr, Lindsay Parker, and Robert F. Arduini

Abstract

Observations of cirrus and altocumulus clouds during the First International Satellite Cloud Climatology Project Regional Experiment (FIRE) are compared to theoretical models of cloud radiative properties. Three tests are performed. First, Landsat radiances are used to compare the relationship between nadir reflectance at 0.83 μm and beam emittance at 11.5 μm with that predicted by model calculations using spherical and nonspherical phase functions. Good agreement is found between observations and theory when water droplets dominate. Poor agreement is found when ice particles dominate, especially if scattering phase functions for spherical particles am used. Even when compared to a laboratory measured ice particle phase function (Volkovitskiy et al. 1980), the observations show increased side scattered radiation relative to the theoretical calculations. Second, the anisotropy of conservatively scattered radiation is examined using simultaneous multiple-angle views of the cirrus from Landsat and ER-2 aircraft radiometers. Observed anisotropy gives good agreement with theoretical calculations using the laboratory measured ice-particle phase function and poor agreement with a spherical-particle phase function. Third, Landsat radiances at 0.83 μm, 1.65 μm, and 2.21 μm are used to infer particle phase and particle size. For water droplets, good agreement is found with King Air FSSP particle probe measurements in the cloud. For ice particles, the Landsat radiance observations predict an effective radius of 60 μm versus aircraft observations of about 200 μm. It is suggested that this discrepancy may be explained by uncertainty in the imaginary index of ice and by inadequate measurements of small ice particles by microphysical probes.

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B.A. Baum, T. Uttal, M. Poellot, T.P. Ackerman, J.M. Alvarez, J. Intrieri, D.O'C. Starr, J. Titlow, V. Tovinkere, and E. Clothiaux

Abstract

The goals of the current study are threefold: 1) to present a multispectral, multiresolution (MSMR) methodology for analysis of scenes containing multiple cloud layers; 2) to apply the MSMR method to two multilevel cloud scenes recorded by the NOAA Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) and the High Resolution Infrared Radiometer Sounder (HIRS/2) instruments during the First International Satellite Cloud Climatology Program (ISCCP) Regional Experiment (FIRE) on 28 November 1991; and 3) to validate the cloud-top height results from the case study analyses through comparison with lidar, radar, aircraft and rawin-sonde data. The measurements available from FIRE Cirrus II enable detailed examination of two complex cloud scenes in which cirrus and stratus appear simultaneously.

A “fuzzy logic” classification system is developed to determine whether a 32×32 array of AVHRR data contains clear sky, low-level cloud, midlevel cloud, high-level cloud, or multiple cloud layers. With the addition of the fray logic cloud classification system, it is possible for the first time to find evidence of more than one cloud layer within each HMS field of view. Low cloud heights are determined through application of the spatial coherence method to the AVHRR data, while mid- to high-level cloud heights are calculated from the HIRS/2 15-µm CO2 band radiometric data that are collocated with the AVHRR data. Cirrus cloud heights retrieved from HIRS 15-µm CO2 band data are improved for optically thin cirrus through the use of the upper-tropospheric humidity profile. The MSMR-derived cloud heights are consistent with coincident lidar, radar, and aircraft data. Cirrus and stratus cloud-top heights and cirrus effective emittances are retrieved for data within an ISCCP 2.5° grid cell that encompasses the FIRE experimental region.

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Kenneth Sassen, David O'C. Starr, Gerald G. Mace, Michael R. Poellot, S.H. Melfi, Wynn L. Eberhard, James D. Spinhirne, E.W. Eloranta, Donald E. Hagen, and John Hallett

Abstract

In presenting an overview of the cirrus clouds comprehensively studied by ground-based and airborne sensors from Coffeyville, Kansas, during the 5–6 December 1992 Project FIRE IFO II case study period, evidence is provided that volcanic aerosols from the June 1991 Pinatubo eruptions may have significantly influenced the formation and maintenance of the cirrus. Following the local appearance of a spur of stratospheric volcanic debris from the subtropics, a series of jet streaks subsequently conditioned the troposphere through tropopause foldings with sulfur-based particles that became effective cloud-forming nuclei in cirrus clouds. Aerosol and ozone measurements suggest a complicated history of stratospheric-tropospheric exchanges embedded within the upper-level flow, and cirrus cloud formation was noted to occur locally at the boundaries of stratospheric aerosol-enriched layers that became humidified through diffusion, precipitation, or advective processes. Apparent cirrus cloud alterations include abnormally high ice crystal concentrations (up to ∼600 L−1), complex radial ice crystal types, and relatively large haze particles in cirrus uncinus cell heads at temperatures between −40° and −50°C. Implications for volcanic-cirrus cloud climate effects and usual (nonvolcanic aerosol) jet stream cirrus cloud formation are discussed.

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D.L. Westphal, S. Kinne, P. Pilewskie, J.M. Alvarez, P. Minnis, D.F. Young, S.G. Benjamin, W.L. Eberhard, R.A. Kropfli, S.Y. Matrosov, J.B. Snider, T.A. Uttal, A.J. Heymsfield, G.G. Mace, S.H. Melfi, D.O'C. Starr, and J.J. Soden

Abstract

Observations from a wide variety of instruments and platforms are used to validate many different aspects of a three-dimensional mesoscale simulation of the dynamics, cloud microphysics, and radiative transfer of a cirrus cloud system observed on 26 November 1991 during the second cirrus field program of the First International Satellite Cloud Climatology Program (ISCCP) Regional Experiment (FIRE-II) located in southeastern Kansas. The simulation was made with a mesoscale dynamical model utilizing a simplified bulk water cloud scheme and a spectral model of radiative transfer. Expressions for cirrus optical properties for solar and infrared wavelength intervals as functions of ice water content and effective particle radius are modified for the midlatitude cirrus observed during FIRE-II and are shown to compare favorably with explicit size-resolving calculations of the optical properties. Rawinsonde, Raman lidar, and satellite data are evaluated and combined to produce a time–height cross section of humidity at the central FIRE-II site for model verification. Due to the wide spacing of rawinsondes and their infrequent release, important moisture features go undetected and are absent in the conventional analyses. The upper-tropospheric humidities used for the initial conditions were generally less than 50% of those inferred from satellite data, yet over the course of a 24-h simulation the model produced a distribution that closely resembles the large-scale features of the satellite analysis. The simulated distribution and concentration of ice compares favorably with data from radar, lidar, satellite, and aircraft. Direct comparison is made between the radiative transfer simulation and data from broadband and spectral sensors and inferred quantities such as cloud albedo, optical depth, and top-of-the-atmosphere 11-µm brightness temperature, and the 6.7-µm brightness temperature. Comparison is also made with theoretical heating rates calculated using the rawinsonde data and measured ice water size distributions near the central site. For this case study, and perhaps for most other mesoscale applications, the differences between the observed and simulated radiative quantities are due more to errors in the prediction of ice water content, than to errors in the optical properties or the radiative transfer solution technique.

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