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David L. Mitchell, Robert P. d’Entremont, and R. Paul Lawson

Abstract

Since cirrus clouds have a substantial influence on the global energy balance that depends on their microphysical properties, climate models should strive to realistically characterize the cirrus ice particle size distribution (PSD), at least in a climatological sense. To date, the airborne in situ measurements of the cirrus PSD have contained large uncertainties due to errors in measuring small ice crystals (D ≲ 60 μm). This paper presents a method to remotely estimate the concentration of the small ice crystals relative to the larger ones using the 11- and 12-μm channels aboard several satellites. By understanding the underlying physics producing the emissivity difference between these channels, this emissivity difference can be used to infer the relative concentration of small ice crystals. This is facilitated by enlisting temperature-dependent characterizations of the PSD (i.e., PSD schemes) based on in situ measurements.

An average cirrus emissivity relationship between 12 and 11 μm is developed here using the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) satellite instrument and is used to “retrieve” the PSD based on six different PSD schemes. The PSDs from the measurement-based PSD schemes are compared with corresponding retrieved PSDs to evaluate differences in small ice crystal concentrations. The retrieved PSDs generally had lower concentrations of small ice particles, with total number concentration independent of temperature. In addition, the temperature dependence of the PSD effective diameter De and fall speed Vf for these retrieved PSD schemes exhibited less variability relative to the unmodified PSD schemes. The reduced variability in the retrieved De and Vf was attributed to the lower concentrations of small ice crystals in the retrieved PSD.

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M. Sikand, J. Koskulics, K. Stamnes, B. Hamre, J. J. Stamnes, and R. P. Lawson

Abstract

Microphysical and radiative measurements in boundary layer mixed-phase clouds (MPCs), consisting of ice crystals and liquid droplets, have been analyzed. These cloud measurements were collected during a May–June 2008 tethered-balloon campaign in Ny-Ålesund, Norway, located at 78.9°N, 11.9°E in the High Arctic. The instruments deployed on the tethered-balloon platform included a radiometer, a cloud particle imager (CPI), and a meteorological package. To analyze the data, a radiative transfer model (RTM) was constructed with two cloud layers—consistent with the CPI data—embedded in a background Rayleigh scattering atmosphere. The mean intensities estimated from the radiometer measurements on the balloon were used in conjunction with the RTM to quantify the vertical structure of the MPC system, while the downward irradiances measured by an upward-looking ground-based radiometer were used to constrain the total cloud optical depth. The time series of radiometer and CPI data obtained while profiling the cloud system was used to estimate the time evolution of the liquid water and ice particle optical depths as well as the vertical location of the two cloud layers.

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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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Robert Nissen, Roland List, David Hudak, Greg M. McFarquhar, R. Paul Lawson, N. P. Tung, S. K. Soo, and T. S. Kang

Abstract

For nonconvective, steady light rain with rain rates <5 mm h−1 the mean Doppler velocity of raindrop spectra was found to be constant below the melting band, when the drop-free fall speed was adjusted for pressure. The Doppler radar–weighted raindrop diameters varied from case to case from 1.5 to 2.5 mm while rain rates changed from 1.2 to 2.9 mm h−1. Significant changes of advected velocity moments were observed over periods of 4 min.

These findings were corroborated by three independent systems: a Doppler radar for establishing vertical air speed and mean terminal drop speeds [using extended Velocity Azimuth Display (EVAD) analyses], a Joss–Waldvogel disdrometer at the ground, and a Particle Measuring System (PMS) 2-DP probe flown on an aircraft. These measurements were supported by data from upper-air soundings. The reason why inferred raindrop spectra do not change with height is the negligible interaction rate between raindrops at low rain rates. At low rain rates, numerical box models of drop collisions strongly support this interpretation. It was found that increasing characteristic drop diameters are correlated with increasing rain rates.

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A. Korolev, G. McFarquhar, P. R. Field, C. Franklin, P. Lawson, Z. Wang, E. Williams, S. J. Abel, D. Axisa, S. Borrmann, J. Crosier, J. Fugal, M. Krämer, U. Lohmann, O. Schlenczek, M. Schnaiter, and M. Wendisch

Abstract

Mixed-phase clouds represent a three-phase colloidal system consisting of water vapor, ice particles, and coexisting supercooled liquid droplets. Mixed-phase clouds are ubiquitous in the troposphere, occurring at all latitudes from the polar regions to the tropics. Because of their widespread nature, mixed-phase processes play critical roles in the life cycle of clouds, precipitation formation, cloud electrification, and the radiative energy balance on both regional and global scales. Yet, in spite of many decades of observations and theoretical studies, our knowledge and understanding of mixed-phase cloud processes remains incomplete. Mixed-phase clouds are notoriously difficult to represent in numerical weather prediction and climate models, and their description in theoretical cloud physics still presents complicated challenges. In this chapter, the current status of our knowledge on mixed-phase clouds, obtained from theoretical studies and observations, is reviewed. Recent progress, along with a discussion of problems and gaps in understanding the mixed-phase environment is summarized. Specific steps to improve our knowledge of mixed-phase clouds and their role in the climate and weather system are proposed.

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P. R. Field, R. P. Lawson, P. R. A. Brown, G. Lloyd, C. Westbrook, D. Moisseev, A. Miltenberger, A. Nenes, A. Blyth, T. Choularton, P. Connolly, J. Buehl, J. Crosier, Z. Cui, C. Dearden, P. DeMott, A. Flossmann, A. Heymsfield, Y. Huang, H. Kalesse, Z. A. Kanji, A. Korolev, A. Kirchgaessner, S. Lasher-Trapp, T. Leisner, G. McFarquhar, V. Phillips, J. Stith, and S. Sullivan

Abstract

Measured ice crystal concentrations in natural clouds at modest supercooling (temperature ~>−10°C) are often orders of magnitude greater than the number concentration of primary ice nucleating particles. Therefore, it has long been proposed that a secondary ice production process must exist that is able to rapidly enhance the number concentration of the ice population following initial primary ice nucleation events. Secondary ice production is important for the prediction of ice crystal concentration and the subsequent evolution of some types of clouds, but the physical basis of the process is not understood and the production rates are not well constrained. In November 2015 an international workshop was held to discuss the current state of the science and future work to constrain and improve our understanding of secondary ice production processes. Examples and recommendations for in situ observations, remote sensing, laboratory investigations, and modeling approaches are presented.

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D. Baumgardner, S. J. Abel, D. Axisa, R. Cotton, J. Crosier, P. Field, C. Gurganus, A. Heymsfield, A. Korolev, M. Krämer, P. Lawson, G. McFarquhar, Z. Ulanowski, and J. Um

Abstract

Understanding the formation and evolution of ice in clouds requires detailed information on the size, shape, mass, and optical properties of individual cloud hydrometeors and their bulk properties over a broad range of atmospheric conditions. Since the 1960s, instrumentation and research aircraft have evolved, providing increasingly more accurate and larger quantities of data about cloud particle properties. In this chapter, the current status of electrical powered, in situ measurement systems are reviewed with respect to their strengths and weaknesses and their limitations and uncertainties are documented. There remain many outstanding challenges. These are summarized and accompanied by recommendations for moving forward through new developments that fill the remaining information gaps. Closing these gaps will remove the obstacles that continue to hinder our understanding of cloud processes in general and the evolution of ice in particular.

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Eric J. Jensen, Rei Ueyama, Leonhard Pfister, Thaopaul V. Bui, R. Paul Lawson, Sarah Woods, Troy Thornberry, Andrew W. Rollins, Glenn S. Diskin, Joshua P. DiGangi, and Melody A. Avery

Abstract

Numerical simulations of cirrus formation in the tropical tropopause layer (TTL) during boreal wintertime are used to evaluate the impact of heterogeneous ice nuclei (IN) abundance on cold cloud microphysical properties and occurrence frequencies. The cirrus model includes homogeneous and heterogeneous ice nucleation, deposition growth/sublimation, and sedimentation. Reanalysis temperature and wind fields with high-frequency waves superimposed are used to force the simulations. The model results are constrained by comparison with in situ and satellite observations of TTL cirrus and relative humidity. Temperature variability driven by high-frequency waves has a dominant influence on TTL cirrus microphysical properties and occurrence frequencies, and inclusion of these waves is required to produce agreement between the simulated and observed abundance of TTL cirrus. With homogeneous freezing only and small-scale gravity waves included in the temperature curtains, the model produces excessive ice concentrations compared with in situ observations. Inclusion of relatively numerous heterogeneous ice nuclei (NIN ≥ 100 L−1) in the simulations improves the agreement with observed ice concentrations. However, when IN contribute significantly to TTL cirrus ice nucleation, the occurrence frequency of large supersaturations with respect to ice is less than indicated by in situ measurements. The model results suggest that the sensitivity of TTL cirrus extinction and ice water content statistics to heterogeneous ice nuclei abundance is relatively weak. The simulated occurrence frequencies of TTL cirrus are quite insensitive to ice nuclei abundance, both in terms of cloud frequency height distribution and regional distribution throughout the tropics.

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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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Robert M. Rauber, Harry T. Ochs III, L. Di Girolamo, S. Göke, E. Snodgrass, Bjorn Stevens, Charles Knight, J. B. Jensen, D. H. Lenschow, R. A. Rilling, D. C. Rogers, J. L. Stith, B. A. Albrecht, P. Zuidema, A. M. Blyth, C. W. Fairall, W. A. Brewer, S. Tucker, S. G. Lasher-Trapp, O. L. Mayol-Bracero, G. Vali, B. Geerts, J. R. Anderson, B. A. Baker, R. P. Lawson, A. R. Bandy, D. C. Thornton, E. Burnet, J-L. Brenguier, L. Gomes, P. R. A. Brown, P. Chuang, W. R. Cotton, H. Gerber, B. G. Heikes, J. G. Hudson, P. Kollias, S. K. Krueger, L. Nuijens, D. W. O'Sullivan, A. P. Siebesma, and C. H. Twohy
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