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Paquita Zuidema

Abstract

The behavior of convective activity over the Bay of Bengal during the 1988 and 1999 monsoon seasons is examined using 3-hourly satellite infrared data. More organized convective activity, spreading farther south into the bay, occurred in 1988 than in 1999. A distinct spatial grouping of convective systems by size is found. The east side of the bay experiences most of the rainfall over water, and here the convective systems are relatively small, short lived, and frequent. At the northwest side of the bay near most of the land-based rainfall, convective activity is organized into much larger and longer-lived systems. The diurnal cycle of all the systems over the bay, regardless of size, shows a 0600 local time (LT) maximum in very cold cloud tops (infrared brightness temperature <210 K), with genesis occurring between 2100 and 0300 LT (2100 LT for the larger, longer-lived systems). The cloud systems dissipate after sunrise, with the larger systems lasting until the afternoon. The land–water interface is important for the convection genesis and thereby affects the spatial distribution of convection. Offshore nocturnal convection begins near shore, with later convection occurring farther out over the bay and attaining a larger size. The preference for nocturnal initiation times differs markedly from the afternoon initiation times typical of the tropical western Pacific Ocean, but the time of maximum cloud area extent and dissipation are similar. The strength of the diurnal cycle varies greatly with location, with the northwest side of the bay experiencing both the highest amount of very cold cloudiness and the strongest diurnal cycle. The Joint Air–Sea Monsoon Interaction Experiment (JASMINE) research cruise experienced the only multiday sequence of large, diurnally repeating, southward moving disturbances at 11°N, 89°E in the 2 yr examined, but both the convective diurnal cycle and propagation direction were consistent with climatology. An interesting aspect of the convective life cycle is that systems often have a southward component to their motion, with the most common propagation direction over the entire bay being to the southwest. This can occur even when the larger-scale movement is toward the northwest (such as is typical for cyclones at the northern end of the bay).

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Paquita Zuidema

Abstract

A minimum in cloud coverage occurring between 800 and 600 mb can be inferred from soundings taken within the tropical western Pacific warm pool. Surface observations of clouds and satellite-derived outgoing longwave radiation values suggest that the cloud minimum in the 600–800-mb layer occurs in all weather conditions. One explanation for the enhanced occurrence of clouds above (in the 400–600-mb layer) and their diminished occurrence within the 600–800-mb layer is a preferential cloud detrainment from convection into the more stable levels existing at pressures below 600 mb and above 800 mb. This mechanism is supported by the results of a buoyancy-sorting model.

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Paquita Zuidema and Dennis L. Hartmann

Abstract

Satellite measurements of liquid water path from SSM/I, broadband albedo from ERBE, and cloud characteristics from ISCCP are used to study stratus regions. An average cloud liquid water path of 0.120 ± 0.032 kg m−2 is derived by dividing the average liquid water path for stratus areas by the fractional area coverage of cloud in the region. The diurnal range in this average cloud liquid water path is about 25%. Stratus cloud liquid water is positively correlated with cloud amount and is negatively correlated with low cloud-top temperature.

Cloud liquid water path (LWP) and cloud albedo measurements are used to derive an effective droplet radius using the plane-parallel cloud albedo model of Slingo. The 2.5;dg by 2.5;dg grid boxes are first screened for completely overcast scenes in an attempt to justify the plane-parallel assumption. The mean effective droplet radius for this sample is 10.1 ± 4.4 μm. This serves as an upper bound since small-scale LWP variability is estimated to affect the average albedo by up to 0.07, corresponding to an overestimate in the derived droplet size of up to almost 6 μm. The authors find larger droplet sizes in the evening than in the morning, along with smaller LWPs and lower albedos. No correlation is seen between effective radius and liquid water path, reinforcing the independence of these two parameters. Small droplet sizes are only derived in conjunction with high albedos, but this may simply reflect the effect of LWP inhomogeneity on the albedo and hence the derived droplet size. Individual case studies both support the validity of the methodology given high spatial homogeneity and yet demonstrate the common occurrence of nonhomogeneous conditions within stratus regions.

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R. Paul Lawson and Paquita Zuidema

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Updated analyses of in situ microphysical properties of three Arctic cloud systems sampled by aircraft in July 1998 during the Surface Heat Budget of the Arctic Ocean (SHEBA)/First International Satellite Cloud Climatology Project (ISCCP) Regional Experiment–Arctic Clouds Experiment (FIRE–ACE) are examined in detail and compared with surface-based millimeter Doppler radar. A fourth case is given a cursory examination. The clouds were at 78°N over a melting ice surface, in distinctly different yet typical synoptic conditions. The cases comprise a midlevel all-ice cloud on 8 July; a deep, weakly forced, layered, mixed-phase stratus cloud system with pockets of drizzle, large dendrites, rimed ice and aggregates on 18 July; and a deep, mixed-phase cloud system with embedded convection on 28 July followed by an all-water boundary layer cloud on 29 July. The new observations include measured ice water content exceeding 2 g m−3 on 18 and 28 July and 3-cm snowflakes and 5-mm graupel particles on 28 July, unexpected in clouds close to the North Pole. Radar–aircraft agreement in reflectivity and derived microphysical parameters was reasonably good for the all-water and all-ice cases. In contrast, agreement in radar–aircraft reflectivity and derived parameters was generally inconsistent and sometimes poor for the two mixed-phase cases. The inconsistent agreement in radar–aircraft retrievals may be a result of large uncertainties in both instrument platforms and the algorithms used to retrieve derived parameters. The data also suggest that (single-wavelength) radar alone may not be capable of accurately retrieving the microphysical effects of cloud drops and drizzle in mixed-phase clouds, especially radiative properties such as extinction, albedo, and optical depth. However, more research is required before this generalization can be considered conclusive.

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Adeyemi A. Adebiyi and Paquita Zuidema

Abstract

Shortwave-absorbing aerosols seasonally cover and interact with an expansive low-level cloud deck over the southeast Atlantic. Daily anomalies of the MODIS low cloud fraction, fine-mode aerosol optical depth (AODf), and six ERA-Interim meteorological parameters (lower-tropospheric stability, 800-hPa subsidence, 600-hPa specific humidity, 1000- and 800-hPa horizontal temperature advection, and 1000-hPa geopotential height) are constructed spanning July–October (2001–12). A standardized multiple linear regression, whereby the change in the low cloud fraction to each component’s variability is normalized by one standard deviation, facilitates comparison between the different variables. Most cloud–meteorology relationships follow expected behavior for stratocumulus clouds. Of interest is the low cloud–subsidence relationship, whereby increasing subsidence increases low cloud cover between 10° and 20°S but decreases it elsewhere. Increases in AODf increase cloudiness everywhere, independent of other meteorological predictors. The cloud–AODf effect is partially compensated by accompanying increases in the midtropospheric moisture, which is associated with decreases in low cloud cover. This suggests that the free-tropospheric moisture affects the low cloud deck primarily through longwave radiation rather than mixing. The low cloud cover is also more sensitive to aerosol when the vertical distance between the cloud and aerosol layer is relatively small, which is more likely to occur early in the biomass burning season and farther offshore. A parallel statistical analysis that does not include AODf finds altered relationships between the low cloud cover changes and meteorology that can be understood through the aerosol cross-correlations with the meteorological predictors. For example, the low cloud–stability relationship appears stronger if aerosols are not explicitly included.

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Brain E. Mapes and Paquita Zuidema

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Dry layers are frequently observed in atmospheric soundings from the climatologically humid western Pacific warm pool region. Some 2400 soundings from the TOGA COARE field program were objectively examined for humidity drops (layers in which relative humidity decreases rapidly with height), indicative of the bases of dry layers. These occur throughout the lower and middle troposphere, with frequency peaks near 550 (the 0°C level), 800, and 950 mb.

A composite constructed from these sounding data indicates the following.

  1. Almost all dry layers are too dry (and not warm enough) to be interpreted as conservative vertical displacements. Rather, they apparently consist of filaments or tongues of low moist static energy air advected into the column, often from the subtropics.
  2. Dry tongues are anomalously virtually warm near their bases with a slight cool layer below; that is, they sit atop sharp stable layers or inversions.

The authors hypothesize that radiation is responsible for the thermal structure of dry tongues. The radiative effects of humidity structures in the troposphere are reviewed and illustrated. A composite-derived radiative heating perturbation, acting for 3.5 days in an idealized model of a dry tongue ∼300 km in width (values consistent with case studies), reproduces fairly well the high vertical wavenumber components of the composite thermal structure. Dynamics acts to spread the effect of the radiative heating perturbation over a wider area and to concentrate the temperature perturbations near the dry tongue base, as observed. The deep layer-mean warmth of the composite dry tongue arises from a slight correlation between dry tongue occurrence in this dataset and a ∼1°C global-scale intraseasonal variation of tropical tropospheric temperature.

A dry tongue affects convective clouds both directly, through its thermal structure, and indirectly, through dry air entrainment. Low-level dry tongues can prevent deep convection outright while the stable layers associated with dry tongues at higher altitudes may cause convection to detrain mass. Humidity drops, stable layers, and a proxy for layer clouds all have similar altitude distributions.

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Zhujun Li, Paquita Zuidema, and Ping Zhu
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Paquita Zuidema, Huiwen Xue, and Graham Feingold

Abstract

The net shortwave radiative impact of aerosol on simulations of two shallow marine cloud cases is investigated using a Monte Carlo radiative transfer model. For a shallow cumulus case, increased aerosol concentrations are associated not only with smaller droplet sizes but also reduced cloud fractions and cloud dimensions, a result of evaporation-induced mixing and a lack of precipitation. Three-dimensional radiative transfer (3DRT) effects alter the fluxes by 10%–20% from values calculated using the independent column approximation for these simulations. The first (Twomey) aerosol indirect effect is dominant but the decreased cloud fraction reduces the magnitude of the shortwave cloud forcing substantially. The 3DRT effects slightly decrease the sensitivity of the cloud albedo to changes in droplet size under an overhead sun for the two ranges of cloud liquid water paths examined, but not strongly so. A popular two-stream radiative transfer approximation to the cloud susceptibility overestimates the more directly calculated values for the low liquid-water-path clouds within pristine aerosol conditions by a factor of 2 despite performing well otherwise, suggesting caution in its application to the cloud albedos within broken cloud fields. An evaluation of the influence of cloud susceptibility and cloud fraction changes to a “domain” area-weighted cloud susceptibility found that the domain cloud albedo is more likely to increase under aerosol loading at intermediate aerosol concentrations than under the most pristine conditions, contrary to traditional expectations.

The second simulation (cumulus penetrating into stratus) is characterized by higher cloud fractions and more precipitation. This case has two regimes: a clean, precipitating regime where cloud fraction increases with increasing aerosol, and a more polluted regime where cloud fraction decreases with increasing aerosol. For this case the domain-mean cloud albedo increases steadily with aerosol loading under clean conditions, but increases only slightly after the cloud coverage decreases. Three-dimensional radiative transfer effects are mostly negligible for this case. Both sets of simulations suggest that aerosol-induced cloud fraction changes must be considered in tandem with the Twomey effect for clouds of small dimensions when assessing the net radiative impact, because both effects are drop size dependent and radiatively significant.

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Zhujun Li, Paquita Zuidema, and Ping Zhu

Abstract

Observations of precipitating trade wind cumuli show convective invigoration on the downwind side of their cold pools. The authors study convection and cold pools using a nested–Weather Research and Forecasting Model simulation of 19 January 2005—a day from the Rain in Cumulus over the Ocean experiment. The temperature and water vapor mixing ratio drops in simulated cold pools fall within the envelope of observed cases, and the wind enhancement matches observations more closely. Subcloud updrafts downwind and near the cold pool boundary are statistically compared to updrafts further from cold pools. Updrafts near cold pool outflows are moister than the other updrafts and are more likely to originate from overall moister regions. Cold pool–influenced updrafts tend to exceed the other updrafts in vertical velocity and are associated with more cloud liquid water. The strength of circulation within the cold pool boundary is unable to match that because of the low-level environmental wind shear, and the lifted updrafts advect faster than the environmental wind, thereby accessing the ambient environmental moisture converged by cold pool expansion. Cases with higher rain rates correspond to larger cloud cover through the shearing off of the upper-level cloud, consistent with observations. This study suggests that it is the ability of cold pools to lift thermodynamically favorable air that is critical for secondary convection of trade wind cumuli.

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Meghan F. Cronin, Sonya Legg, and Paquita Zuidema

Abstract

No Abstract available.

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