Effects of atmospheric dynamics and aerosols on the fraction of supercooled water clouds
Abstract. Based on 8 years of (January 2008–December 2015) cloud phase information from the GCM-Oriented Cloud-Aerosol Lidar and Infrared Pathfinder Satellite Observation (CALIPSO) Cloud Product (GOCCP), aerosol products from CALIPSO and meteorological parameters from the ERA-Interim products, the present study investigates the effects of atmospheric dynamics on the supercooled liquid cloud fraction (SCF) during nighttime under different aerosol loadings at global scale to better understand the conditions of supercooled liquid water gradually transforming to ice phase.
Statistical results indicate that aerosols' effect on nucleation cannot fully explain all SCF changes, especially in those regions where aerosols' effect on nucleation is not a first-order influence (e.g., due to low ice nuclei aerosol frequency). By performing the temporal and spatial correlations between SCFs and different meteorological factors, this study presents specifically the relationship between SCF and different meteorological parameters under different aerosol loadings on a global scale. We find that the SCFs almost decrease with increasing of aerosol loading, and the SCF variation is closely related to the meteorological parameters but their temporal relationship is not stable and varies with the different regions, seasons and isotherm levels. Obviously negative temporal correlations between SCFs versus vertical velocity and relative humidity indicate that the higher vertical velocity and relative humidity the smaller SCFs. However, the patterns of temporal correlation for lower-tropospheric static stability, skin temperature and horizontal wind are relatively more complex than those of vertical velocity and humidity. For example, their close correlations are predominantly located in middle and high latitudes and vary with latitude or surface type. Although these statistical correlations have not been used to establish a certain causal relationship, our results may provide a unique point of view on the phase change of mixed-phase cloud and have potential implications for further improving the parameterization of the cloud phase and determining the climate feedbacks.