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Daniel Philipp, Martin Stengel, and Bodo Ahrens

Abstract

Satellite-based cloud, radiation flux, and sea ice records covering 34 years are used 1) to investigate autumn cloud cover trends over the Arctic, 2) to assess its relation with declining sea ice using Granger causality (GC) analysis, and 3) to discuss the contribution of the cloud–sea ice (CSI) feedback to Arctic amplification. This paper provides strong evidence for a positive CSI feedback with the capability to contribute to autumnal Arctic amplification. Positive low-level cloud fractional cover (CFClow) trends over the Arctic ice pack are found in October and November (ON) with magnitudes of up to about +9.6% per decade locally. Statistically significant anticorrelations between sea ice concentration (SIC) and CFClow are observed in ON over melting zones, suggesting an association. The GC analysis indicated a causal two-way interaction between SIC and CFClow. Interpreting the resulting F statistic and its spatial distribution as a relation strength proxy, the influence of SIC on CFClow is likely stronger than the reverse. ERA-Interim reanalysis data suggest that ON CFClow is impacted by sea ice melt through surface–atmosphere coupling via turbulent heat and moisture fluxes. Due to weak solar insolation in ON, net cloud radiative forcing (CRF) exerts a warming effect on the Arctic surface. Increasing CFClow induces a large-scale surface warming trend reaching magnitudes of up to about +8.3 W m−2 per decade locally. Sensitivities of total CRF to CFClow ranges between +0.22 and +0.66 W m−2 per percent CFClow. Increasing surface warming can cause a melt season lengthening and hinders formation of perennial ice.

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Marlon Maranan, Andreas H. Fink, Peter Knippertz, Leonard K. Amekudzi, Winifred A. Atiah, and Martin Stengel

Abstract

Using a two-year dataset (2016–17) from 17 one-minute rain gauges located in the moist forest region of Ghana, the performance of Integrated Multisatellite Retrievals for GPM, version 6b (IMERG), is evaluated based on a subdaily time scale, down to the level of the underlying passive microwave (PMW) and infrared (IR) sources. Additionally, the spaceborne cloud product Cloud Property Dataset Using SEVIRI, edition 2 (CLAAS-2), available every 15 min, is used to link IMERG rainfall to cloud-top properties. Several important issues are identified: 1) IMERG’s proneness to low-intensity false alarms, accounting for more than a fifth of total rainfall; 2) IMERG’s overestimation of the rainfall amount from frequently occurring weak convective events, while that of relatively rare but strong mesoscale convective systems is underestimated, resulting in an error compensation; and 3) a decrease of skill during the little dry season in July and August, known to feature enhanced low-level cloudiness and warm rain. These findings are related to 1) a general oversensitivity for clouds with low ice and liquid water path and a particular oversensitivity for low cloud optical thickness, a problem which is slightly reduced for direct PMW overpasses; 2) a pronounced negative bias for high rain intensities, strongest when IR data are included; and 3) a large fraction of missed events linked with rainfall out of warm clouds, which are inherently misinterpreted by IMERG and its sources. This paper emphasizes the potential of validating spaceborne rainfall products with high-resolution rain gauges on a subdaily time scale, particularly for the understudied West African region.

Open access
Rob Roebeling, Bryan Baum, Ralf Bennartz, Ulrich Hamann, Andrew Heidinger, Jan Fokke Meirink, Martin Stengel, Anke Thoss, Andi Walther, and Phil Watts
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