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Jianhao Zhang, Paquita Zuidema, David D. Turner, and Maria P. Cadeddu

Abstract

The interactions between equatorial convection and humidity as a function of height, at a range of time scales, remain an important research frontier. The ability of surface-based microwave radiometry to contribute to such research is assessed using retrievals of the vertical structure of atmospheric humidity above the equatorial Indian Ocean, developed as part of the Dynamics of Madden–Julian Oscillation field campaign. The optimally estimated humidity retrievals are based on radiances at five frequencies spanning 20–30 GHz and are constrained by radiometer-derived water vapor paths that compare well to radiosonde values except in highly convective conditions. The moisture retrievals possess a robust 2 degrees of freedom, allowing the atmosphere to be treated as two independent layers. A mean bias of 1 g kg−1 contains a vertical structure that is removed in the assessments. The retrieved moisture profiles are able to capture humidity variability within two layer averages at intraseasonal, synoptic, and daily time scales. The retrieved humidity profiles at hourly scales are qualitatively correct under synoptically suppressed conditions but with an exaggerated vertical bimodality. The retrievals do not match radiosonde profiles within most of the day prior to/after convection. This analysis serves to better delineate applications for radiometers. Radiometers can usefully augment more expensive radiosonde networks for longer-term monitoring given careful cross-instrument calibration. At shorter time scales, a synergism with additional instruments can likely increase the realism of the retrievals.

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H. Morrison, J. A. Curry, M. D. Shupe, and P. Zuidema

Abstract

The new double-moment microphysics scheme described in Part I of this paper is implemented into a single-column model to simulate clouds and radiation observed during the period 1 April–15 May 1998 of the Surface Heat Budget of the Arctic (SHEBA) and First International Satellite Cloud Climatology Project (ISCCP) Regional Experiment–Arctic Clouds Experiment (FIRE–ACE) field projects. Mean predicted cloud boundaries and total cloud fraction compare reasonably well with observations. Cloud phase partitioning, which is crucial in determining the surface radiative fluxes, is fairly similar to ground-based retrievals. However, the fraction of time that liquid is present in the column is somewhat underpredicted, leading to small biases in the downwelling shortwave and longwave radiative fluxes at the surface. Results using the new scheme are compared to parallel simulations using other microphysics parameterizations of varying complexity. The predicted liquid water path and cloud phase is significantly improved using the new scheme relative to a single-moment parameterization predicting only the mixing ratio of the water species. Results indicate that a realistic treatment of cloud ice number concentration (prognosing rather than diagnosing) is needed to simulate arctic clouds. Sensitivity tests are also performed by varying the aerosol size, solubility, and number concentration to explore potential cloud–aerosol–radiation interactions in arctic stratus.

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Simon P. de Szoeke, Christopher W. Fairall, Daniel E. Wolfe, Ludovic Bariteau, and Paquita Zuidema

Abstract

A new dataset synthesizes in situ and remote sensing observations from research ships deployed to the southeastern tropical Pacific stratocumulus region for 7 years in boreal fall. Surface meteorology, turbulent and radiative fluxes, aerosols, cloud properties, and rawinsonde profiles were measured on nine ship transects along 20°S from 75° to 85°W. Fluxes at the ocean surface are essential to the equilibrium SST. Solar radiation is the only warming net heat flux, with 180–200 W m−2 in boreal fall. The strongest cooling is evaporation (60–100 W m−2), followed by net thermal infrared radiation (30 W m−2) and sensible heat flux (<10 W m−2). The 70 W m−2 imbalance of heating at the surface reflects the seasonal SST tendency and some 30 W m−2 cooling that is mostly due to ocean transport.

Coupled models simulate significant SST errors in the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean. Three different observation-based gridded ocean surface flux products agree with ship and buoy observations, while fluxes simulated by 15 Coupled Model Intercomparison Project phase 3 [CMIP3; used for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Report] general circulation models have relatively large errors. This suggests the gridded observation-based flux datasets are sufficiently accurate for verifying coupled models. Longwave cooling and solar warming are correlated among model simulations, consistent with cloud radiative forcing and low cloud amount differences. In those simulations with excessive solar heating, elevated SST also results in larger evaporation and longwave cooling to compensate for the solar excess. Excessive turbulent heat fluxes (10–90 W m−2 cooling, mostly evaporation) are the largest errors in simulations once the compensation between solar and longwave radiation is taken into account. In addition to excessive solar warming and evaporation, models simulate too little oceanic residual cooling in the southeastern tropical Pacific Ocean.

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Simon P. de Szoeke, Sandra Yuter, David Mechem, Chris W. Fairall, Casey D. Burleyson, and Paquita Zuidema

Abstract

Widespread stratocumulus clouds were observed on nine transects from seven research cruises to the southeastern tropical Pacific Ocean along 20°S, 75°–85°W in October–November of 2001–08. The nine transects sample a unique combination of synoptic and interannual variability affecting the clouds; their ensemble diagnoses longitude–vertical sections of the atmosphere, diurnal cycles of cloud properties and drizzle statistics, and the effect of stratocumulus clouds on surface radiation. Mean cloud fraction was 0.88, and 67% of 10-min overhead cloud fraction observations were overcast. Clouds cleared in the afternoon [1500 local time (LT)] to a minimum of fraction of 0.7. Precipitation radar found strong drizzle with reflectivity above 40 dBZ.

Cloud-base (CB) heights rise with longitude from 1.0 km at 75°W to 1.2 km at 85°W in the mean, but the slope varies from cruise to cruise. CB–lifting condensation level (LCL) displacement, a measure of decoupling, increases westward. At night CB–LCL is 0–200 m and increases 400 m from dawn to 1600 LT, before collapsing in the evening.

Despite zonal gradients in boundary layer and cloud vertical structure, surface radiation and cloud radiative forcing are relatively uniform in longitude. When present, clouds reduce solar radiation by 160 W m−2 and radiate 70 W m−2 more downward longwave radiation than clear skies. Coupled Model Intercomparison Project phase 3 (CMIP3) simulations of the climate of the twentieth century show 40 ± 20 W m−2 too little net cloud radiative cooling at the surface. Simulated clouds have correct radiative forcing when present, but models have ~50% too few clouds.

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Simon P. de Szoeke, Eric D. Skyllingstad, Paquita Zuidema, and Arunchandra S. Chandra

Abstract

Cold pools dominate the surface temperature variability observed over the central Indian Ocean (0°, 80°E) for 2 months of research cruise observations in the Dynamics of the Madden–Julian Oscillation (DYNAMO) experiment in October–December 2011. Cold pool fronts are identified by a rapid drop of temperature. Air in cold pools is slightly drier than the boundary layer (BL). Consistent with previous studies, cold pools attain wet-bulb potential temperatures representative of saturated downdrafts originating from the lower midtroposphere.

Wind and surface fluxes increase, and rain is most likely within the ~20-min cold pool front. Greatest integrated water vapor and liquid follow the front. Temperature and velocity fluctuations shorter than 6 min achieve 90% of the surface latent and sensible heat flux in cold pools. The temperature of the cold pools recovers in about 20 min, chiefly by mixing at the top of the shallow cold wake layer, rather than by surface flux.

Analysis of conserved variables shows mean BL air is composed of 51% air entrained from the BL top (800 m), 22% saturated downdrafts, and 27% air at equilibrium with the ocean surface. The number of cold pools, and their contribution to the BL heat and moisture, nearly doubles in the convectively active phase compared to the suppressed phase of the Madden–Julian oscillation.

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P. Zuidema, B. Baker, Y. Han, J. Intrieri, J. Key, P. Lawson, S. Matrosov, M. Shupe, R. Stone, and T. Uttal

Abstract

The microphysical characteristics, radiative impact, and life cycle of a long-lived, surface-based mixed-layer, mixed-phase cloud with an average temperature of approximately −20°C are presented and discussed. The cloud was observed during the Surface Heat Budget of the Arctic experiment (SHEBA) from 1 to 10 May 1998. Vertically resolved properties of the liquid and ice phases are retrieved using surface-based remote sensors, utilize the adiabatic assumption for the liquid component, and are aided by and validated with aircraft measurements from 4 and 7 May. The cloud radar ice microphysical retrievals, originally developed for all-ice clouds, compare well with aircraft measurements despite the presence of much greater liquid water contents than ice water contents. The retrieved time-mean liquid cloud optical depth of 10.1 ± 7.8 far surpasses the mean ice cloud optical depth of 0.2, so that the liquid phase is primarily responsible for the cloud’s radiative (flux) impact. The ice phase, in turn, regulates the overall cloud optical depth through two mechanisms: sedimentation from a thin upper ice cloud, and a local ice production mechanism with a time scale of a few hours, thought to reflect a preferred freezing of the larger liquid drops. The liquid water paths replenish within half a day or less after their uptake by ice, attesting to strong water vapor fluxes. Deeper boundary layer depths and higher cloud optical depths coincide with large-scale rising motion at 850 hPa, but the synoptic activity is also associated with upper-level ice clouds. Interestingly, the local ice formation mechanism appears to be more active when the large-scale subsidence rate implies increased cloud-top entrainment. Strong cloud-top radiative cooling rates promote cloud longevity when the cloud is optically thick. The radiative impact of the cloud upon the surface is significant: a time-mean positive net cloud forcing of 41 W m−2 with a diurnal amplitude of ∼20 W m−2. This is primarily because a high surface reflectance (0.86) reduces the solar cooling influence. The net cloud forcing is primarily sensitive to cloud optical depth for the low-optical-depth cloudy columns and to the surface reflectance for the high-optical-depth cloudy columns. Any projected increase in the springtime cloud optical depth at this location (76°N, 165°W) is not expected to significantly alter the surface radiation budget, because clouds were almost always present, and almost 60% of the cloudy columns had optical depths >6.

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P. J. Webster, E. F. Bradley, C. W. Fairall, J. S. Godfrey, P. Hacker, R. A. Houze Jr., R. Lukas, Y. Serra, J. M. Hummon, T. D. M. Lawrence, C. A. Russell, M. N. Ryan, K. Sahami, and P. Zuidema

The methods and initial results of an extensive pilot study, the Joint Air–Sea Monsoon Interaction Experiment (JASMINE) held in the Indian Ocean during the summer of 1999, are described. The experimental design was based on the precept that the monsoon sways back and forth from active to inactive (or break) phases and that these intraseasonal oscillations are coupled ocean–atmosphere phenomena that are important components of the monsoon system. JASMINE is the first comprehensive study of the coupled ocean–atmosphere system in the eastern Indian Ocean and the southern Bay of Bengal. Two research vessels, the NOAA ship Ronald H. Brown and the Australian research vessel Franklin, totaled 52 days of surveillance in April–June and September, with 388 conductivity–temperature–depth (CTD) casts and 272 radiosonde ascents. In addition, both ships carried identical flux systems to measure the ocean–atmosphere interaction. The Brown had five radar systems and profilers, including a cloud radar and a Doppler C-band rain radar.

Active and break periods of the monsoon, and the transitions between these phases, and the onset of the 1999 South Asian summer monsoon occurred during JASMINE. The undisturbed and disturbed periods had vast differences in the net heating of the ocean, ranging from daily averages of +150 W m−2 during the former to −100 W m−2 in the latter. Accompanying these changes in the monsoon phase were distinct states of the upper ocean and the atmosphere, including complete reversals of the near-equatorial currents on the timescales of weeks. Diurnal variability occurred in both phases of the monsoon, particularly in near-surface thermodynamical quantities in undisturbed periods and in convection when conditions were disturbed. The JASMINE observations and analyses are compared with those from other tropical regions. Differences in the surface fluxes between disturbed and undisturbed periods appear to be greater in the monsoon than in the western Pacific Ocean. However, in both regions, it is argued that the configuration of convection and vertical wind shear acts as a positive feedback to accelerate low-level westerly winds. Outstanding questions and tentative plans for the future are also discussed.

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M. Christian Schwartz, Virendra P. Ghate, Bruce. A. Albrecht, Paquita Zuidema, Maria P. Cadeddu, Jothiram Vivekanandan, Scott M. Ellis, Pei Tsai, Edwin W. Eloranta, Johannes Mohrmann, Robert Wood, and Christopher S. Bretherton

Abstract

The Cloud System Evolution in the Trades (CSET) aircraft campaign was conducted in the summer of 2015 in the northeast Pacific to observe the transition from stratocumulus to cumulus cloud regime. Fourteen transects were made between Sacramento, California, and Kona, Hawaii, using the NCAR’s High-Performance Instrumented Airborne Platform for Environmental Research (HIAPER) Gulfstream V (GV) aircraft. The HIAPER W-band Doppler cloud radar (HCR) and the high-spectral-resolution lidar (HSRL), in their first deployment together on board the GV, provided crucial cloud and precipitation observations. The HCR recorded the raw in-phase (I) and quadrature (Q) components of the digitized signal, from which the Doppler spectra and its first three moments were calculated. HCR/HSRL data were merged to develop a hydrometeor mask on a uniform georeferenced grid of 2-Hz temporal and 20-m vertical resolutions. The hydrometeors are classified as cloud or precipitation using a simple fuzzy logic technique based on the HCR mean Doppler velocity, HSRL backscatter, and the ratio of HCR reflectivity to HSRL backscatter. This is primarily applied during zenith-pointing conditions under which the lidar can detect the cloud base and the radar is more sensitive to clouds. The microphysical properties of below-cloud drizzle and optically thin clouds were retrieved using the HCR reflectivity, HSRL backscatter, and the HCR Doppler spectrum width after it is corrected for the aircraft speed. These indicate that as the boundary layers deepen and cloud-top heights increase toward the equator, both the cloud and rain fractions decrease.

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C. R. Mechoso, R. Wood, R. Weller, C. S. Bretherton, A. D. Clarke, H. Coe, C. Fairall, J. T. Farrar, G. Feingold, R. Garreaud, C. Grados, J. McWilliams, S. P. de Szoeke, S. E. Yuter, and P. Zuidema

The present paper describes the Variability of the American Monsoon Systems (VAMOS) Ocean–Cloud–Atmosphere–Land Study (VOCALS), an international research program focused on the improved understanding and modeling of the southeastern Pacific (SEP) climate system on diurnal to interannual time scales. In the framework of the SEP climate, VOCALS has two fundamental objectives: 1) improved simulations by coupled atmosphere–ocean general circulation models (CGCMs), with an emphasis on reducing systematic errors in the region; and 2) improved estimates of the indirect effects of aerosols on low clouds and climate, with an emphasis on the more precise quantification of those effects. VOCALS major scientific activities are outlined, and selected achievements are highlighted. Activities described include monitoring in the region, a large international field campaign (the VOCALS Regional Experiment), and two model assessments. The program has already produced significant advances in the understanding of major issues in the SEP: the coastal circulation and the diurnal cycle, the ocean heat budget, factors controlling precipitation and formation of pockets of open cells in stratocumulus decks, aerosol impacts on clouds, and estimation of the first aerosol indirect effect. The paper concludes with a brief presentation on VOCALS contributions to community capacity building before a summary of scientific findings and remaining questions.

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Robert Wood, Michael P. Jensen, Jian Wang, Christopher S. Bretherton, Susannah M. Burrows, Anthony D. Del Genio, Ann M. Fridlind, Steven J. Ghan, Virendra P. Ghate, Pavlos Kollias, Steven K. Krueger, Robert L. McGraw, Mark A. Miller, David Painemal, Lynn M. Russell, Sandra E. Yuter, and Paquita Zuidema
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