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Susanne Glienke, Alexander B. Kostinski, Raymond A. Shaw, Michael L. Larsen, Jacob P. Fugal, Oliver Schlenczek, and Stephan Borrmann

Abstract

Data collected with a holographic instrument [Holographic Detector for Clouds (HOLODEC)] on board the High-Performance Instrumented Airborne Platform for Environmental Research Gulfstream-V (HIAPER GV) aircraft from marine stratocumulus clouds during the Cloud System Evolution in the Trades (CSET) field project are examined for spatial uniformity. During one flight leg at 1190 m altitude, 1816 consecutive holograms were taken, which were approximately 40 m apart with individual hologram dimensions of 1.16 cm × 0.68 cm × 12.0 cm and with droplet concentrations of up to 500 cm−3. Unlike earlier studies, minimally intrusive data processing (e.g., bypassing calculation of number concentrations, binning, and parametric fitting) is used to test for spatial uniformity of clouds on intra- and interhologram spatial scales (a few centimeters and 40 m, respectively). As a means to test this, measured droplet count fluctuations are normalized with the expected standard deviation from theoretical Poisson distributions, which signifies randomness. Despite the absence of trends in the mean concentration, it is found that the null hypothesis of spatial uniformity on both spatial scales can be rejected with compelling statistical confidence. Monte Carlo simulations suggest that weak clustering explains this signature. These findings also hold for size-resolved analysis but with less certainty. Clustering of droplets caused by, for example, entrainment and turbulence, is size dependent and is likely to influence key processes such as droplet growth and thus cloud lifetime.

Free access
Oliver Schlenczek, Jacob P. Fugal, Gary Lloyd, Keith N. Bower, Thomas W. Choularton, Michael Flynn, Jonathan Crosier, and Stephan Borrmann

Abstract

During the Cloud and Aerosol Characterization Experiment (CLACE) 2013 field campaign at the High Altitude Research Station Jungfraujoch, Switzerland, optically thin pure ice clouds and ice crystal precipitation were measured using holographic and other in situ particle instruments. For cloud particles, particle images, positions in space, concentrations, and size distributions were obtained, allowing one to extract size distributions classified by ice crystal habit. Small ice crystals occurring under conditions with a vertically thin cloud layer above and a stratocumulus layer approximately 1 km below exhibit similar properties in size and crystal habits as Antarctic/Arctic diamond dust. Also, ice crystal precipitation stemming from midlevel clouds subsequent to the diamond dust event was observed with a larger fraction of ice crystal aggregates when compared with the diamond dust. In another event, particle size distributions could be derived from mostly irregular ice crystals and aggregates, which likely originated from surface processes. These particles show a high spatial and temporal variability, and it is noted that size and habit distributions have only a weak dependence on the particle number concentration. Larger ice crystal aggregates and rosette shapes of some hundred microns in maximum dimension could be sampled as a precipitating cirrostratus cloud passed the site. The individual size distributions for each habit agree well with lognormal distributions. Fitted parameters to the size distributions are presented along with the area-derived ice water content, and the size distributions are compared with other measurements of pure ice clouds made in the Arctic and Antarctic.

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Robert C. Jackson, Greg M. McFarquhar, Jeff Stith, Matthew Beals, Raymond A. Shaw, Jorgen Jensen, Jacob Fugal, and Alexei Korolev

Abstract

Prior estimates of ice crystal size distributions derived from 2D cloud probes (2DCs) have been artificially amplified by small ice crystals generated from the shattering of large ice crystals on the probe tips. Although antishatter tips and algorithms exist, there is considerable uncertainty in their effectiveness. This paper examines differences in ice crystal size distributions from adjacent 2DCs with standard and antishatter tips, and processed with and without antishattering algorithms. The measurements were obtained from the National Research Council of Canada Convair-580 during the 2008 Indirect and Semi-Direct Aerosol Campaign (ISDAC) and the National Center for Atmospheric Research C-130 during the 2011 Instrumentation Development and Education in Airborne Science (IDEAS-2011). The 2DC size distributions are compared with those from the Holographic Detector for Clouds (HOLODEC), which has antishatter tips and allows for identification of shattering through spatial statistics.

The ratio of the number concentration N of particles with maximum dimensions 125–500 μm from the 2DC with standard tips to that from the 2DC with modified tips was correlated with median mass diameter and perimeter divided by area, but not with airspeed, attack, and attitude angles. Antishatter tips and algorithms reduced N by up to a factor of 10 for IDEAS-2011 and ISDAC, but neither alone removed all artifacts. For the period with coincident data, both N from the HOLODEC and 2DC with modified tips are around 5 × 10−3 L−1 μm−1, suggesting that antishatter tips and algorithms combined remove artifacts from the 2DC for the conditions sampled during IDEAS-2011.

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Robert Wood, Kuan-Ting O, Christopher S. Bretherton, Johannes Mohrmann, Bruce. A. Albrecht, Paquita Zuidema, Virendra Ghate, Chris Schwartz, Ed Eloranta, Susanne Glienke, Raymond A. Shaw, Jacob Fugal, and Patrick Minnis

Abstract

A common feature of the stratocumulus-to-cumulus transition (SCT) is the presence of layers in which the concentration of particles larger than 0.1 μm is below 10 cm−3. These ultraclean layers (UCLs) are explored using aircraft observations from 14 flights of the NSF–NCAR Gulfstream V (G-V) aircraft between California and Hawaii. UCLs are commonly located in the upper part of decoupled boundary layers, with coverage increasing from less than 5% within 500 km of the California coast to ~30%–60% west of 130°W. Most clouds in UCLs are thin, horizontally extensive layers containing drops with median volume radii ranging from 15 to 30 μm. Many UCL clouds are optically thin and do not fully attenuate the G-V lidar and yet are frequently detected with a 94-GHz radar with a sensitivity of around −30 dBZ. Satellite data indicate that UCL clouds have visible reflectances of ~0.1–0.2 and are often quasi laminar, giving them a veil-like appearance. These optically thin veil clouds exist for 1–3 h or more, are associated with mesoscale cumulus clusters, and likely grow by spreading under strong inversions. Active updrafts in cumulus (Cu) clouds have droplet concentrations of ~25–50 cm−3. Collision–coalescence in the Cu and later sedimentation in the thinner UCL clouds are likely the key processes that remove droplets in UCL clouds. UCLs are relatively quiescent, and a lack of mixing with dry air above and below the cloud may help to explain their longevity. The very low and highly variable droplet concentrations in UCL clouds, together with their low geometrical and optical thickness, make these clouds particularly challenging to represent in large-scale models.

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Bruce Albrecht, Virendra Ghate, Johannes Mohrmann, Robert Wood, Paquita Zuidema, Christopher Bretherton, Christian Schwartz, Edwin Eloranta, Susanne Glienke, Shaunna Donaher, Mampi Sarkar, Jeremy McGibbon, Alison D. Nugent, Raymond A. Shaw, Jacob Fugal, Patrick Minnis, Robindra Paliknoda, Louis Lussier, Jorgen Jensen, J. Vivekanandan, Scott Ellis, Peisang Tsai, Robert Rilling, Julie Haggerty, Teresa Campos, Meghan Stell, Michael Reeves, Stuart Beaton, John Allison, Gregory Stossmeister, Samuel Hall, and Sebastian Schmidt

Abstract

The Cloud System Evolution in the Trades (CSET) study was designed to describe and explain the evolution of the boundary layer aerosol, cloud, and thermodynamic structures along trajectories within the North Pacific trade winds. The study centered on seven round trips of the National Science Foundation–National Center for Atmospheric Research (NSF–NCAR) Gulfstream V (GV) between Sacramento, California, and Kona, Hawaii, between 7 July and 9 August 2015. The CSET observing strategy was to sample aerosol, cloud, and boundary layer properties upwind from the transition zone over the North Pacific and to resample these areas two days later. Global Forecast System forecast trajectories were used to plan the outbound flight to Hawaii with updated forecast trajectories setting the return flight plan two days later. Two key elements of the CSET observing system were the newly developed High-Performance Instrumented Airborne Platform for Environmental Research (HIAPER) Cloud Radar (HCR) and the high-spectral-resolution lidar (HSRL). Together they provided unprecedented characterizations of aerosol, cloud, and precipitation structures that were combined with in situ measurements of aerosol, cloud, precipitation, and turbulence properties. The cloud systems sampled included solid stratocumulus infused with smoke from Canadian wildfires, mesoscale cloud–precipitation complexes, and patches of shallow cumuli in very clean environments. Ultraclean layers observed frequently near the top of the boundary layer were often associated with shallow, optically thin, layered veil clouds. The extensive aerosol, cloud, drizzle, and boundary layer sampling made over open areas of the northeast Pacific along 2-day trajectories during CSET will be an invaluable resource for modeling studies of boundary layer cloud system evolution and its governing physical processes.

Open access