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Kenneth Sassen, Gerald G. Mace, Zhien Wang, Michael R. Poellot, Stephen M. Sekelsky, and Robert E. McIntosh

Abstract

A continental stratus cloud layer was studied by advanced ground-based remote sensing instruments and aircraft probes on 30 April 1994 from the Cloud and Radiation Testbed site in north-central Oklahoma. The boundary layer structure clearly resembled that of a cloud-topped mixed layer, and the cloud content is shown to be near adiabatic up to the cloud-top entrainment zone. A cloud retrieval algorithm using the radar reflectivity and cloud droplet concentration (either measured in situ or deduced using dual-channel microwave radiometer data) is applied to construct uniquely high-resolution cross sections of liquid water content and mean droplet radius. The combined evidence indicates that the 350–600 m deep, slightly supercooled (2.0° to −2.0°C) cloud, which failed to produce any detectable ice or drizzle particles, contained an average droplet concentration of 347 cm−3, and a maximum liquid water content of 0.8 g m−3 and mean droplet radius of 9 μm near cloud top. Lidar data indicate that the Ka-band radar usually detected the cloud-base height to within ∼50 m, such that the radar insensitivity to small cloud droplets had a small impact on the findings. Radar-derived liquid water paths ranged from 71 to 259 g m−2 as the stratus deck varied, which is in excellent agreement with dual-channel microwave radiometer data, but ∼20% higher than that measured in situ. This difference appears to be due to the undersampling of the few largest cloud droplets by the aircraft probes. This combination of approaches yields a unique image of the content of a continental stratus cloud, as well as illustrating the utility of modern remote sensing systems for probing nonprecipitating water clouds.

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Andrew J. Heymsfield, Larry M. Miloshevich, Carl Schmitt, Aaron Bansemer, Cynthia Twohy, Michael R. Poellot, Ann Fridlind, and Hermann Gerber

Abstract

This study uses a unique set of microphysical measurements obtained in a vigorous, convective updraft core at temperatures between −33° and −36°C, together with a microphysical model, to investigate the role of homogeneous ice nucleation in deep tropical convection and how it influences the microphysical properties of the associated cirrus anvils. The core and anvil formed along a sea-breeze front during the Cirrus Regional Study of Tropical Anvils and Cirrus Layers–Florida Area Cirrus Experiment (CRYSTAL–FACE).

The updraft core contained two distinct regions as traversed horizontally: the upwind portion of the core contained droplets of diameter 10–20 μm in concentrations of around 100 cm−3 with updraft speeds of 5–10 m s−1; the downwind portion of the core was glaciated with high concentrations of small ice particles and stronger updrafts of 10–20 m s−1. Throughout the core, rimed particles up to 0.6-cm diameter were observed. The anvil contained high concentrations of both small particles and large aggregates.

Thermodynamic analysis suggests that the air sampled in the updraft core was mixed with air from higher altitudes that descended along the upwind edge of the cloud in an evaporatively driven downdraft, introducing free-tropospheric cloud condensation nuclei into the updraft below the aircraft sampling height. Farther downwind in the glaciated portion of the core, the entrained air contained high concentrations of ice particles that inhibit droplet formation and homogeneous nucleation.

Calculations of droplet and ice particle growth and homogeneous ice nucleation are used to investigate the influence of large ice particles lofted in updrafts from lower levels in this and previously studied tropical ice clouds on the homogeneous nucleation process. The preexisting large ice particles act to suppress homogeneous nucleation through competition via diffusional and accretional growth, mainly when the updrafts are < 5 m s−1. In deep convective updrafts > 5–10 m s−1, the anvil is the depository for the small, radiatively important ice particles (homogeneously nucleated) and the large ice particles from below (heterogeneously or secondarily produced, or recycled).

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Andrew J. Heymsfield, Sharon Lewis, Aaron Bansemer, Jean Iaquinta, Larry M. Miloshevich, Masahiro Kajikawa, Cynthia Twohy, and Michael R. Poellot

Abstract

A new approach is described for calculating the mass (m) and terminal velocity (V t) of ice particles from airborne and balloon-borne imaging probe data as well as its applications for remote sensing and modeling studies. Unlike past studies that derived these parameters from the maximum (projected) dimension (D) and habit alone, the “two-parameter approach” uses D and the particle's projected cross-sectional area (A). Expressions were developed that relate the area ratio (A r; the projected area of an ice particle normalized by the area of a circle with diameter D) to its effective density (ρ e) and to Vt.

Habit-dependent, power-law relationships between ρ e and A r were developed using analytic representations of the geometry of various types of planar and spatial ice crystals. Relationships were also derived from new or reanalyzed data for single ice particles and aggregates observed in clouds and at the ground.

The mass relationships were evaluated by comparing calculations to direct measurements of ice water content (IWC). The calculations were from Particle Measuring Systems (PMS) 2D-C and 2D-P probes of particle size distributions in ice cloud layers on 3 days during an Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) field campaign in Oklahoma; the direct measurements were from counterflow virtual impactor (CVI) observations in ice cloud layers during the field campaign. Agreement was generally to within 20%, whereas using previous mass–dimension relationship approaches usually produced larger differences. Comparison of ground-based measurements of radar reflectivity with calculations from collocated balloon-borne ice crystal measurements also showed that the new method accurately captured the vertical reflectivity structure. Improvements in the accuracy of the estimates from the earlier mass–dimension relationships were achieved by converting them to the new form. A new, more accurate mass–dimension relationship for spatial, cirrus-type crystals was deduced from the comparison.

The relationship between V t and A r was derived from a combination of theory and observations. A new expression accounting for the drag coefficients of large aggregates was developed from observational data. Explicit relationships for calculating V t as a function of D for aggregates with a variety of component crystals were developed.

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R. A. Peppler, C. P. Bahrmann, J. C. Barnard, J. R. Campbell, M.-D. Cheng, R. A. Ferrare, R. N. Halthore, L. A. HeiIman, D. L. Hlavka, N. S. Laulainen, C.-J. Lin, J. A. Ogren, M. R. Poellot, L. A. Remer, K. Sassen, J. D. Spinhirne, M. E. Splitt, and D. D. Turner

Drought-stricken areas of Central America and Mexico were victimized in 1998 by forest and brush fires that burned out of control during much of the first half of the year. Wind currents at various times during the episode helped transport smoke from these fires over the Gulf of Mexico and into portions of the United States. Visibilities were greatly reduced during favorable flow periods from New Mexico to south Florida and northward to Wisconsin as a result of this smoke and haze. In response to the reduced visibilities and increased pollutants, public health advisories and information statements were issued by various agencies in Gulf Coast states and in Oklahoma.

This event was also detected by a unique array of instrumentation deployed at the U.S. Department of Energy's Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) program Southern Great Plains Cloud and Radiation Testbed and by sensors of the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality/Air Quality Division. Observations from these measurement devices suggest elevated levels of aerosol loading and ozone concentrations during May 1998 when prevailing winds were favorable for the transport of the Central American smoke pall into Oklahoma and Kansas. In particular, aerosol extinction profiles derived from the ARM Raman lidar measurements revealed large variations in the vertical distribution of the smoke.

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M. P. Jensen, W. A. Petersen, A. Bansemer, N. Bharadwaj, L. D. Carey, D. J. Cecil, S. M. Collis, A. D. Del Genio, B. Dolan, J. Gerlach, S. E. Giangrande, A. Heymsfield, G. Heymsfield, P. Kollias, T. J. Lang, S. W. Nesbitt, A. Neumann, M. Poellot, S. A. Rutledge, M. Schwaller, A. Tokay, C. R. Williams, D. B. Wolff, S. Xie, and E. J. Zipser

Abstract

The Midlatitude Continental Convective Clouds Experiment (MC3E), a field program jointly led by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) Program and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) mission, was conducted in south-central Oklahoma during April–May 2011. MC3E science objectives were motivated by the need to improve our understanding of midlatitude continental convective cloud system life cycles, microphysics, and GPM precipitation retrieval algorithms. To achieve these objectives, a multiscale surface- and aircraft-based in situ and remote sensing observing strategy was employed. A variety of cloud and precipitation events were sampled during MC3E, of which results from three deep convective events are highlighted. Vertical structure, air motions, precipitation drop size distributions, and ice properties were retrieved from multiwavelength radar, profiler, and aircraft observations for a mesoscale convective system (MCS) on 11 May. Aircraft observations for another MCS observed on 20 May were used to test agreement between observed radar reflectivities and those calculated with forward-modeled reflectivity and microwave brightness temperatures using in situ particle size distributions and ice water content. Multiplatform observations of a supercell that occurred on 23 May allowed for an integrated analysis of kinematic and microphysical interactions. A core updraft of 25 m s−1 supported growth of hail and large raindrops. Data collected during the MC3E campaign are being used in a number of current and ongoing research projects and are available through the ARM and NASA data archives.

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J. Verlinde, J. Y. Harrington, G. M. McFarquhar, V. T. Yannuzzi, A. Avramov, S. Greenberg, N. Johnson, G. Zhang, M. R. Poellot, J. H. Mather, D. D. Turner, E. W. Eloranta, B. D. Zak, A. J. Prenni, J. S. Daniel, G. L. Kok, D. C. Tobin, R. Holz, K. Sassen, D. Spangenberg, P. Minnis, T. P. Tooman, M. D. Ivey, S. J. Richardson, C. P. Bahrmann, M. Shupe, P. J. DeMott, A. J. Heymsfield, and R. Schofield

The Mixed-Phase Arctic Cloud Experiment (M-PACE) was conducted from 27 September through 22 October 2004 over the Department of Energy's Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) Climate Research Facility (ACRF) on the North Slope of Alaska. The primary objectives were to collect a dataset suitable to study interactions between microphysics, dynamics, and radiative transfer in mixed-phase Arctic clouds, and to develop/evaluate cloud property retrievals from surface-and satellite-based remote sensing instruments. Observations taken during the 1977/98 Surface Heat and Energy Budget of the Arctic (SHEBA) experiment revealed that Arctic clouds frequently consist of one (or more) liquid layers precipitating ice. M-PACE sought to investigate the physical processes of these clouds by utilizing two aircraft (an in situ aircraft to characterize the microphysical properties of the clouds and a remote sensing aircraft to constraint the upwelling radiation) over the ACRF site on the North Slope of Alaska. The measurements successfully documented the microphysical structure of Arctic mixed-phase clouds, with multiple in situ profiles collected in both single- and multilayer clouds over two ground-based remote sensing sites. Liquid was found in clouds with cloud-top temperatures as cold as −30°C, with the coldest cloud-top temperature warmer than −40°C sampled by the aircraft. Remote sensing instruments suggest that ice was present in low concentrations, mostly concentrated in precipitation shafts, although there are indications of light ice precipitation present below the optically thick single-layer clouds. The prevalence of liquid down to these low temperatures potentially could be explained by the relatively low measured ice nuclei concentrations.

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T. J. Garrett, B. C. Navarro, C. H. Twohy, E. J. Jensen, D. G. Baumgardner, P. T. Bui, H. Gerber, R. L. Herman, A. J. Heymsfield, P. Lawson, P. Minnis, L. Nguyen, M. Poellot, S. K. Pope, F. P. J. Valero, and E. M. Weinstock

Abstract

This paper presents a detailed study of a single thunderstorm anvil cirrus cloud measured on 21 July 2002 near southern Florida during the Cirrus Regional Study of Tropical Anvils and Cirrus Layers–Florida Area Cirrus Experiment (CRYSTAL-FACE). NASA WB-57F and University of North Dakota Citation aircraft tracked the microphysical and radiative development of the anvil for 3 h. Measurements showed that the cloud mass that was advected downwind from the thunderstorm was separated vertically into two layers: a cirrus anvil with cloud-top temperatures of −45°C lay below a second, thin tropopause cirrus (TTC) layer with the same horizontal dimensions as the anvil and temperatures near −70°C. In both cloud layers, ice crystals smaller than 50 μm across dominated the size distributions and cloud radiative properties. In the anvil, ice crystals larger than 50 μm aggregated and precipitated while small ice crystals increasingly dominated the size distributions; as a consequence, measured ice water contents and ice crystal effective radii decreased with time. Meanwhile, the anvil thinned vertically and maintained a stratification similar to its environment. Because effective radii were small, radiative heating and cooling were concentrated in layers approximately 100 m thick at the anvil top and base. A simple analysis suggests that the anvil cirrus spread laterally because mixing in these radiatively driven layers created horizontal pressure gradients between the cloud and its stratified environment. The TTC layer also spread but, unlike the anvil, did not dissipate—perhaps because the anvil shielded the TTC from terrestrial infrared heating. Calculations of top-of-troposphere radiative forcing above the anvil and TTC showed strong cooling that tapered as the anvil evolved.

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