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Susanne Glienke, Alexander B. Kostinski, Raymond A. Shaw, Michael L. Larsen, Jacob P. Fugal, Oliver Schlenczek, and Stephan Borrmann


Data collected with a holographic instrument [Holographic Detector for Clouds (HOLODEC)] on board the High-Performance Instrumented Airborne Platform for Environmental Research Gulfstream-V (HIAPER GV) aircraft from marine stratocumulus clouds during the Cloud System Evolution in the Trades (CSET) field project are examined for spatial uniformity. During one flight leg at 1190 m altitude, 1816 consecutive holograms were taken, which were approximately 40 m apart with individual hologram dimensions of 1.16 cm × 0.68 cm × 12.0 cm and with droplet concentrations of up to 500 cm−3. Unlike earlier studies, minimally intrusive data processing (e.g., bypassing calculation of number concentrations, binning, and parametric fitting) is used to test for spatial uniformity of clouds on intra- and interhologram spatial scales (a few centimeters and 40 m, respectively). As a means to test this, measured droplet count fluctuations are normalized with the expected standard deviation from theoretical Poisson distributions, which signifies randomness. Despite the absence of trends in the mean concentration, it is found that the null hypothesis of spatial uniformity on both spatial scales can be rejected with compelling statistical confidence. Monte Carlo simulations suggest that weak clustering explains this signature. These findings also hold for size-resolved analysis but with less certainty. Clustering of droplets caused by, for example, entrainment and turbulence, is size dependent and is likely to influence key processes such as droplet growth and thus cloud lifetime.

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Robert Wood, Kuan-Ting O, Christopher S. Bretherton, Johannes Mohrmann, Bruce. A. Albrecht, Paquita Zuidema, Virendra Ghate, Chris Schwartz, Ed Eloranta, Susanne Glienke, Raymond A. Shaw, Jacob Fugal, and Patrick Minnis


A common feature of the stratocumulus-to-cumulus transition (SCT) is the presence of layers in which the concentration of particles larger than 0.1 μm is below 10 cm−3. These ultraclean layers (UCLs) are explored using aircraft observations from 14 flights of the NSF–NCAR Gulfstream V (G-V) aircraft between California and Hawaii. UCLs are commonly located in the upper part of decoupled boundary layers, with coverage increasing from less than 5% within 500 km of the California coast to ~30%–60% west of 130°W. Most clouds in UCLs are thin, horizontally extensive layers containing drops with median volume radii ranging from 15 to 30 μm. Many UCL clouds are optically thin and do not fully attenuate the G-V lidar and yet are frequently detected with a 94-GHz radar with a sensitivity of around −30 dBZ. Satellite data indicate that UCL clouds have visible reflectances of ~0.1–0.2 and are often quasi laminar, giving them a veil-like appearance. These optically thin veil clouds exist for 1–3 h or more, are associated with mesoscale cumulus clusters, and likely grow by spreading under strong inversions. Active updrafts in cumulus (Cu) clouds have droplet concentrations of ~25–50 cm−3. Collision–coalescence in the Cu and later sedimentation in the thinner UCL clouds are likely the key processes that remove droplets in UCL clouds. UCLs are relatively quiescent, and a lack of mixing with dry air above and below the cloud may help to explain their longevity. The very low and highly variable droplet concentrations in UCL clouds, together with their low geometrical and optical thickness, make these clouds particularly challenging to represent in large-scale models.

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Bruce Albrecht, Virendra Ghate, Johannes Mohrmann, Robert Wood, Paquita Zuidema, Christopher Bretherton, Christian Schwartz, Edwin Eloranta, Susanne Glienke, Shaunna Donaher, Mampi Sarkar, Jeremy McGibbon, Alison D. Nugent, Raymond A. Shaw, Jacob Fugal, Patrick Minnis, Robindra Paliknoda, Louis Lussier, Jorgen Jensen, J. Vivekanandan, Scott Ellis, Peisang Tsai, Robert Rilling, Julie Haggerty, Teresa Campos, Meghan Stell, Michael Reeves, Stuart Beaton, John Allison, Gregory Stossmeister, Samuel Hall, and Sebastian Schmidt


The Cloud System Evolution in the Trades (CSET) study was designed to describe and explain the evolution of the boundary layer aerosol, cloud, and thermodynamic structures along trajectories within the North Pacific trade winds. The study centered on seven round trips of the National Science Foundation–National Center for Atmospheric Research (NSF–NCAR) Gulfstream V (GV) between Sacramento, California, and Kona, Hawaii, between 7 July and 9 August 2015. The CSET observing strategy was to sample aerosol, cloud, and boundary layer properties upwind from the transition zone over the North Pacific and to resample these areas two days later. Global Forecast System forecast trajectories were used to plan the outbound flight to Hawaii with updated forecast trajectories setting the return flight plan two days later. Two key elements of the CSET observing system were the newly developed High-Performance Instrumented Airborne Platform for Environmental Research (HIAPER) Cloud Radar (HCR) and the high-spectral-resolution lidar (HSRL). Together they provided unprecedented characterizations of aerosol, cloud, and precipitation structures that were combined with in situ measurements of aerosol, cloud, precipitation, and turbulence properties. The cloud systems sampled included solid stratocumulus infused with smoke from Canadian wildfires, mesoscale cloud–precipitation complexes, and patches of shallow cumuli in very clean environments. Ultraclean layers observed frequently near the top of the boundary layer were often associated with shallow, optically thin, layered veil clouds. The extensive aerosol, cloud, drizzle, and boundary layer sampling made over open areas of the northeast Pacific along 2-day trajectories during CSET will be an invaluable resource for modeling studies of boundary layer cloud system evolution and its governing physical processes.

Open access
Jian Wang, Rob Wood, Michael P. Jensen, J. Christine Chiu, Yangang Liu, Katia Lamer, Neel Desai, Scott E. Giangrande, Daniel A. Knopf, Pavlos Kollias, Alexander Laskin, Xiaohong Liu, Chunsong Lu, David Mechem, Fan Mei, Mariusz Starzec, Jason Tomlinson, Yang Wang, Seong Soo Yum, Guangjie Zheng, Allison C. Aiken, Eduardo B. Azevedo, Yann Blanchard, Swarup China, Xiquan Dong, Francesca Gallo, Sinan Gao, Virendra P. Ghate, Susanne Glienke, Lexie Goldberger, Joseph C. Hardin, Chongai Kuang, Edward P. Luke, Alyssa A. Matthews, Mark A. Miller, Ryan Moffet, Mikhail Pekour, Beat Schmid, Arthur J. Sedlacek, Raymond A. Shaw, John E. Shilling, Amy Sullivan, Kaitlyn Suski, Daniel P. Veghte, Rodney Weber, Matt Wyant, Jaemin Yeom, Maria Zawadowicz, and Zhibo Zhang


With their extensive coverage, marine low clouds greatly impact global climate. Presently, marine low clouds are poorly represented in global climate models, and the response of marine low clouds to changes in atmospheric greenhouse gases and aerosols remains the major source of uncertainty in climate simulations. The eastern North Atlantic (ENA) is a region of persistent but diverse subtropical marine boundary layer clouds, whose albedo and precipitation are highly susceptible to perturbations in aerosol properties. In addition, the ENA is periodically impacted by continental aerosols, making it an excellent location to study the cloud condensation nuclei (CCN) budget in a remote marine region periodically perturbed by anthropogenic emissions, and to investigate the impacts of long-range transport of aerosols on remote marine clouds. The Aerosol and Cloud Experiments in Eastern North Atlantic (ACE-ENA) campaign was motivated by the need of comprehensive in situ measurements for improving the understanding of marine boundary layer CCN budget, cloud and drizzle microphysics, and the impact of aerosol on marine low cloud and precipitation. The airborne deployments took place from 21 June to 20 July 2017 and from 15 January to 18 February 2018 in the Azores. The flights were designed to maximize the synergy between in situ airborne measurements and ongoing long-term observations at a ground site. Here we present measurements, observation strategy, meteorological conditions during the campaign, and preliminary findings. Finally, we discuss future analyses and modeling studies that improve the understanding and representation of marine boundary layer aerosols, clouds, precipitation, and the interactions among them.

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