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Matthew D. Shupe

Abstract

Cloud phase defines many cloud properties and determines the ways in which clouds interact with other aspects of the climate system. The occurrence fraction and characteristics of clouds distinguished by their phase are examined at three Arctic atmospheric observatories. Each observatory has the basic suite of instruments that are necessary to identify cloud phase, namely, cloud radar, depolarization lidar, microwave radiometer, and twice-daily radiosondes. At these observatories, ice clouds are more prevalent than mixed-phase clouds, which are more prevalent than liquid-only clouds. Cloud ice occurs 60%–70% of the time over a typical year, at heights up to 11 km. Liquid water occurs at temperatures above −40°C and is increasingly more likely as temperatures increase. Within the temperature range from −40° to −30°C, liquid water occurs in 3%–5% of the observed cloudiness. Liquid water is found higher in the atmosphere when accompanied by ice; there are few liquid-only clouds above 3 km, although liquid in mixed-phase clouds occurs at heights up to about 7–8 km. Regardless of temperature or height, liquid water occurs 56% of the time at Barrow, Alaska, and at a western Arctic Ocean site, but only 32% of the time at Eureka, Nunavut, Canada. This significant difference in liquid occurrence is due to a relatively dry lower troposphere during summer at Eureka in addition to warmer cloud temperatures with more persistent liquid water layers at the far western locations. The most persistent liquid clouds at these locations occur continuously for more than 70 h in the autumn and more than 30 h in the winter. Ice clouds persist for much longer than do liquid clouds at Eureka and occur more frequently in the winter season, leading to a total cloud occurrence annual cycle that is distinct from the other observatories.

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Amy Solomon and Matthew D. Shupe

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This study investigates cloud formation and transitions in cloud types at Summit, Greenland, during 16–22 September 2010, when a warm, moist air mass was advected to Greenland from lower latitudes. During this period there was a sharp transition between high ice clouds and the formation of a lower stratocumulus deck at Summit. A regional mesoscale model is used to investigate the air masses that form these cloud systems. It is found that the high ice clouds form in originally warm, moist air masses that radiatively cool while being transported to Summit. A sensitivity study removing high ice clouds demonstrates that the primary impact of these clouds at Summit is to reduce cloud liquid water embedded within the ice cloud and water vapor in the boundary layer due to vapor deposition on snow. The mixed-phase stratocumulus clouds form at the base of cold, dry air masses advected from the northwest above 4 km. The net surface radiative fluxes during the stratocumulus period are at least 20 W m−2 larger than during the ice cloud period, indicating that, in seasons other than summer, cold, dry air masses advected to Summit above the boundary layer may radiatively warm the top of the Greenland Ice Sheet more effectively than warm, moist air masses advected from lower latitudes.

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Joseph Sedlar, Matthew D. Shupe, and Michael Tjernström

Abstract

Cloud and thermodynamic characteristics from three Arctic observation sites are investigated to understand the collocation between low-level clouds and temperature inversions. A regime where cloud top was 100–200 m above the inversion base [cloud inside inversion (CII)] was frequently observed at central Arctic Ocean sites, while observations from Barrow, Alaska, indicate that cloud tops were more frequently constrained to inversion base height [cloud capped by inversion (CCI)]. Cloud base and top heights were lower, and temperature inversions were also stronger and deeper, during CII cases. Both cloud regimes were often decoupled from the surface except for CCI over Barrow. In-cloud lapse rates differ and suggest increased cloud-mixing potential for CII cases.

Specific humidity inversions were collocated with temperature inversions for more than 60% of the CCI and more than 85% of the CII regimes. Horizontal advection of heat and moisture is hypothesized as an important process controlling thermodynamic structure and efficiency of cloud-generated motions. The portion of CII clouds above the inversion contains cloud radar signatures consistent with cloud droplets. The authors test the longwave radiative impact of cloud liquid above the inversion through hypothetical liquid water distributions. Optically thin CII clouds alter the effective cloud emission temperature and can lead to an increase in surface flux on the order of 1.5 W m−2 relative to the same cloud but whose top does not extend above the inversion base. The top of atmosphere impact is even larger, increasing outgoing longwave radiation up to 10 W m−2. These results suggest a potentially significant longwave radiative forcing via simple liquid redistributions for a distinctly dominant cloud regime over sea ice.

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Michael Tjernström, Joseph Sedlar, and Matthew D. Shupe

Abstract

Downwelling radiation in six regional models from the Arctic Regional Climate Model Intercomparison (ARCMIP) project is systematically biased negative in comparison with observations from the Surface Heat Budget of the Arctic Ocean (SHEBA) experiment, although the correlations with observations are relatively good. In this paper, links between model errors and the representation of clouds in these models are investigated. Although some modeled cloud properties, such as the cloud water paths, are reasonable in a climatological sense, the temporal correlation of model cloud properties with observations is poor. The vertical distribution of cloud water is distinctly different among the different models; some common features also appear. Most models underestimate the presence of high clouds, and, although the observed preference for low clouds in the Arctic is present in most of the models, the modeled low clouds are too thin and are displaced downward. Practically all models show a preference to locate the lowest cloud base at the lowest model grid point. In some models this happens also to be where the observations show the highest occurrence of the lowest cloud base; it is not possible to determine if this result is just a coincidence. Different factors contribute to model surface radiation errors. For longwave radiation in summer, a negative bias is present both for cloudy and clear conditions, and intermodel differences are smaller when clouds are present. There is a clear relationship between errors in cloud-base temperature and radiation errors. In winter, in contrast, clear-sky cases are modeled reasonably well, but cloudy cases show a very large intermodel scatter with a significant bias in all models. This bias likely results from a complete failure in all of the models to retain liquid water in cold winter clouds. All models overestimate the cloud attenuation of summer solar radiation for thin and intermediate clouds, and some models maintain this behavior also for thick clouds.

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Matthew D. Shupe and Janet M. Intrieri

Abstract

An annual cycle of cloud and radiation measurements made as part of the Surface Heat Budget of the Arctic (SHEBA) program are utilized to determine which properties of Arctic clouds control the surface radiation balance. Surface cloud radiative forcing (CF), defined as the difference between the all-sky and clear-sky net surface radiative fluxes, was calculated from ground-based measurements of broadband fluxes and results from a clear-sky model. Longwave cloud forcing (CFLW) is shown to be a function of cloud temperature, height, and emissivity (i.e., microphysics). Shortwave cloud forcing (CFSW) is a function of cloud transmittance, surface albedo, and the solar zenith angle. The annual cycle of Arctic CF reveals cloud-induced surface warming through most of the year and a short period of surface cooling in the middle of summer, when cloud shading effects overwhelm cloud greenhouse effects. The sensitivity of CFLW to cloud fraction is about 0.65 W m−2 per percent cloudiness. The sensitivity of CFSW to cloud fraction is a function of insolation and ranges over 0–1.0 W m−2 per percent cloudiness for the sun angles observed at SHEBA. In all seasons, liquid-containing cloud scenes dominate both LW and SW radiative impacts on the surface. The annual mean CFLW (CFSW) for liquid-containing and ice-only cloud scenes is 52 (−21) and 16 (−3) W m−2, respectively. In the LW, 95% of the radiatively important cloud scenes have bases below 4.3 km and have base temperatures warmer than −31°C. The CFLW is particularly sensitive to LWP for LWP < 30 g m−2, which has profound implications in the winter surface radiation balance. The CFSW becomes more negative as surface albedo decreases and at higher sun elevations. Overall, low-level stratiform liquid and mixed-phase clouds are found to be the most important contributors to the Arctic surface radiation balance, while cirrus clouds and diamond dust layers are found to have only a small radiative impact on the Arctic surface.

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Janet M. Intrieri and Matthew D. Shupe

Abstract

Atmospheric observations from active remote sensors and surface observers, obtained in the western Arctic Ocean between November 1997 and May 1998, were analyzed to determine the physical characteristics and to assess the surface radiative contribution of diamond dust. The observations showed that diamond dust contributed only a negligible radiative effect to the sea ice surface. Surface radiative fluxes and radiative forcing values during diamond dust events were similar in magnitude when compared to observed clear-sky periods. Combined information from lidar, radar, and surface observers showed that diamond dust occurred ∼13% of the time between November and mid-May over the Arctic Ocean and was not observed between mid-May and October. Diamond dust vertical depths, derived from lidar measurements, varied between 100 and 1000 m but were most often observed to be about 250 m.

Lidar and radar measurements were analyzed to assess if precipitation from boundary layer clouds was present during times when surface observers reported diamond dust. This analysis revealed that surface observers had incorrectly coded diamond dust events ∼45% of the time. The miscoded events occurred almost exclusively under conditions with limited or no illumination (December–March). In 95% of the miscoded reports, lidar measurements revealed the presence of thin liquid water clouds precipitating ice crystals down to the surface.

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Sergey Y. Matrosov, Peter T. May, and Matthew D. Shupe

Abstract

An attenuation-based method to retrieve vertical profiles of rainfall rate from vertically pointing Ka-band radar measurements has been refined and adjusted for use with the U.S. Department of Energy’s cloud radars deployed at multiple Atmospheric Radiation Program (ARM) test bed sites. This method takes advantage of the linear relationship between the rainfall rate and the attenuation coefficient, and can account for a priori information about the vertical profile of nonattenuated reflectivity. The retrieval method is applied to a wide variety of rainfall events observed at different ARM sites ranging from stratiform events with low-to-moderate rainfall rates (∼5 mm h−1) to heavy convective rains with rainfall rates approaching 100 mm h−1. The Ka-band attenuation-based retrieval results expressed in both instantaneous rainfall rates and in rainfall accumulations are compared to available surface data and measurements of a scanning C-band precipitation polarimetric radar located near the Darwin, Australia, ARM test bed site. The Ka-band retrievals are found to be in good agreement with the C-band radar estimates, which are based both on conventional radar reflectivity approaches and on polarimetric differential phase shift measurements. Typically, the C-band–Ka-band radar estimate differences are within the expected retrieval uncertainties. The magnitude of the Ka-band rainfall-rate estimate error depends on the retrieval resolution, rain intensity, and uncertainties in the profiles of nonattenuated reflectivity. It is shown that reasonable retrieval accuracies (∼15%–40%) can be achieved for a large dynamic range of observed rainfall rates (4–100 mm h−1) and the effective vertical resolution of about 1 km. The potential enhancements of the Ka-band attenuation-based method by including a priori information on vertical profiles of nonattenuated reflectivity and increasing the height range of the retrievals by using Ka-band polarization measurements are also discussed. The addition of the precipitation products to the suite of ARM hydrometeor retrievals can enhance the overall characterization of the vertical atmospheric column.

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Sergey Y. Matrosov, Matthew D. Shupe, and Irina V. Djalalova

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It is demonstrated that millimeter-wavelength radars that are designed primarily for cloud studies can be also used effectively for snowfall retrievals. Radar reflectivity–liquid equivalent snowfall rate (Ze–S) relations specifically tuned for Ka- and W-band radar frequencies are applied to measurements taken by vertically pointing ground-based 8-mm cloud radars (MMCR) that are designed for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) Program and by the nadir-pointing spaceborne 94-GHz CloudSat radar. Comparisons of the MMCR-based snowfall accumulations estimated during experimental events with no significant snowflake riming and controlled gauge measurements indicated an 87% standard deviation between radar and gauge data that is consistent with the uncertainties in the coefficients of the Ze–S relations resulting from variability in snowflake microphysical properties. Comparisons of CloudSat-based snowfall-rate retrievals in heavy snowfall were consistent with estimates from surface S-band precipitation surveillance radars made using algorithms that were specifically designed for use with these radars. A typical difference between the CloudSat and the S-band precipitation radar estimates of snowfall rate for approximately collocated resolution pixels was within a factor of 2, which is of the order of the uncertainty of each estimate. The results of this study suggest that the ground-based and satellite-borne radars operating at Ka and W bands can provide valuable retrieval information on vertical profiles of snowfall, which is an important component of the global water cycle. This information is particularly important in Arctic regions where precipitation information from other sources is scarce.

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Matthew D. Shupe, Sergey Y. Matrosov, and Taneil Uttal

Abstract

Arctic mixed-phase cloud macro- and microphysical properties are derived from a year of radar, lidar, microwave radiometer, and radiosonde observations made as part of the Surface Heat Budget of the Arctic Ocean (SHEBA) Program in the Beaufort Sea in 1997–98. Mixed-phase clouds occurred 41% of the time and were most frequent in the spring and fall transition seasons. These clouds often consisted of a shallow, cloud-top liquid layer from which ice particles formed and fell, although deep, multilayered mixed-phase cloud scenes were also observed. On average, individual cloud layers persisted for 12 h, while some mixed-phase cloud systems lasted for many days. Ninety percent of the observed mixed-phase clouds were 0.5–3 km thick, had a cloud base of 0–2 km, and resided at a temperature of −25° to −5°C. Under the assumption that the relatively large ice crystals dominate the radar signal, ice properties were retrieved from these clouds using radar reflectivity measurements. The annual average ice particle mean diameter, ice water content, and ice water path were 93 μm, 0.027 g m−3, and 42 g m−2, respectively. These values are all larger than those found in single-phase ice clouds at SHEBA. Vertically resolved cloud liquid properties were not retrieved; however, the annual average, microwave radiometer–derived liquid water path (LWP) in mixed-phase clouds was 61 g m−2. This value is larger than the average LWP observed in single-phase liquid clouds because the liquid water layers in the mixed-phase clouds tended to be thicker than those in all-liquid clouds. Although mixed-phase clouds were observed down to temperatures of about −40°C, the liquid fraction (ratio of LWP to total condensed water path) increased on average from zero at −24°C to one at −14°C. The observations show a range of ∼25°C at any given liquid fraction and a phase transition relationship that may change moderately with season.

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Gijs de Boer, Edwin W. Eloranta, and Matthew D. Shupe

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Macro- and microphysical properties of single-layer stratiform mixed-phase clouds are derived from multiple years of lidar, radar, and radiosonde observations. Measurements were made as part of the Mixed-Phase Arctic Clouds Experiment (MPACE) and the Study of Environmental Arctic Change (SEARCH) in Barrow, Alaska, and Eureka, Nunavut, Canada, respectively. Single-layer mixed-phase clouds occurred between 4% and 26% of the total time observed, varying with season and location. They had mean cloud-base heights between ∼700 and 2100 m and thicknesses between ∼200 and 700 m. Seasonal mean cloud optical depths ranged from 2.2 up. The clouds existed at temperatures of ∼242–271 K and occurred under different wind conditions, depending on season. Utilizing retrievals from a combination of lidar, radar, and microwave radiometer, mean cloud microphysical properties were derived, with mean liquid effective diameters estimated from 16 to 49 μm, mean liquid number densities on the order of 104–105 L−1, and mean water contents estimated between 0.07 and 0.28 g m−3. Ice precipitation was shown to have mean ice effective diameters of 50–125 μm, mean ice number densities on the order of 10 L−1, and mean water contents estimated between 0.012 and 0.031 g m−3. Mean cloud liquid water paths ranged from 25 to 100 g m−2. All results are compared to previous studies, and potential retrieval errors are discussed. Additionally, seasonal variation in macro- and microphysical properties was highlighted. Finally, fraction of liquid water to ice mass was shown to decrease with decreasing temperature.

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