On the link between Amazonian forest properties and shallow cumulus cloud fields
- 1Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Weizmann Institute, Rehovot 76100, Israel
- 2NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory (ESRL), Chemical Sciences Division, Boulder, Colorado 80305, USA
Abstract. During the dry season the Amazon forest is frequently covered by shallow cumulus clouds fields, referred to here as forest cumulus (FCu). These clouds are shown to be sensitive to land cover and exhibit a high level of spatial organization. In this study we use satellite data to perform a morphological classification and examine the link between FCu cloud field occurrence and the enhanced vegetation index (EVI), which is commonly used as a measure for forest density and productivity. Although weaker than first-order effects of meteorology, a clear positive linear relation between EVI (i.e., surface properties) and FCu field occurrence is seen over forest land cover, implying a strong coupling between forest surface fluxes and the cloud organization above. Over non-forest land cover the relationship between EVI and FCu occurrence is nonlinear, showing a reduction of FCu for high EVI values. We find that forest to non-forest transition zones display a superposition of the two different land cover dependencies.