Articles | Volume 20, issue 21
31 Oct 2020
Research article | 31 Oct 2020
Influence of gravity wave temperature anomalies and their vertical gradients on cirrus clouds in the tropical tropopause layer – a satellite-based view
Kai-Wei Chang and Tristan L'Ecuyer
No articles found.
Alyson Rose Douglas and Tristan L'Ecuyer
Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss.,
Preprint under review for ACPShort summary
Aerosol, or small particles released by human activities, enter the atmosphere and eventually interact with clouds in what we term aerosol-cloud interactions. As more aerosol enter a cloud, they act as cloud droplet nuclei, increasing the number of cloud droplets in a cloud and delaying rain formation, leading to a larger cloud. We use machine learning and found that these interactions lead to 1.27 % more cloudiness on Earth and offset ~1/4 of the warming due to CO2.
Assia Arouf, Hélène Chepfer, Thibault Vaillant de Guélis, Marjolaine Chiriaco, Matthew D. Shupe, Rodrigo Guzman, Artem Feofilov, Patrick Raberanto, Tristan S. L'Ecuyer, Seiji Kato, and Michael R. Gallagher
Atmos. Meas. Tech., 15, 3893–3923,Short summary
We proposed new estimates of the surface longwave (LW) cloud radiative effect (CRE) derived from observations collected by a space-based lidar on board the CALIPSO satellite and radiative transfer computations. Our estimate appropriately captures the surface LW CRE annual variability over bright polar surfaces, and it provides a dataset more than 13 years long.
Michael R. Gallagher, Matthew D. Shupe, Hélène Chepfer, and Tristan L'Ecuyer
The Cryosphere, 16, 435–450,Short summary
By using direct observations of snowfall and mass changes, the variability of daily snowfall mass input to the Greenland ice sheet is quantified for the first time. With new methods we conclude that cyclones west of Greenland in summer contribute the most snowfall, with 1.66 Gt per occurrence. These cyclones are contextualized in the broader Greenland climate, and snowfall is validated against mass changes to verify the results. Snowfall and mass change observations are shown to agree well.
Alyson Douglas and Tristan L'Ecuyer
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 21, 15103–15114,Short summary
When aerosols enter the atmosphere, they interact with the clouds above in what we term aerosol–cloud interactions and lead to a series of reactions which delay the onset of rain. This delay may lead to increased rain rates, or invigoration, when the cloud eventually rains. We show that aerosol leads to invigoration in certain environments. The strength of the invigoration depends on how large the cloud is, which suggests that it is highly tied to the organization of the cloud system.
Erik Johansson, Abhay Devasthale, Michael Tjernström, Annica M. L. Ekman, Klaus Wyser, and Tristan L'Ecuyer
Geosci. Model Dev., 14, 4087–4101,Short summary
Understanding the coupling of clouds to large-scale circulation is a grand challenge for the climate community. Cloud radiative heating (CRH) is a key parameter in this coupling and is therefore essential to model realistically. We, therefore, evaluate a climate model against satellite observations. Our findings indicate good agreement in the seasonal pattern of CRH even if the magnitude differs. We also find that increasing the horizontal resolution in the model has little effect on the CRH.
Andrew M. Dzambo, Tristan L'Ecuyer, Kenneth Sinclair, Bastiaan van Diedenhoven, Siddhant Gupta, Greg McFarquhar, Joseph R. O'Brien, Brian Cairns, Andrzej P. Wasilewski, and Mikhail Alexandrov
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 21, 5513–5532,Short summary
This work highlights a new algorithm using data collected from the 2016–2018 NASA ORACLES field campaign. This algorithm synthesizes cloud and rain measurements to attain estimates of cloud and precipitation properties over the southeast Atlantic Ocean. Estimates produced by this algorithm compare well against in situ estimates. Increased rain fractions and rain rates are found in regions of atmospheric instability. This dataset can be used to explore aerosol–cloud–precipitation interactions.
Jens Redemann, Robert Wood, Paquita Zuidema, Sarah J. Doherty, Bernadette Luna, Samuel E. LeBlanc, Michael S. Diamond, Yohei Shinozuka, Ian Y. Chang, Rei Ueyama, Leonhard Pfister, Ju-Mee Ryoo, Amie N. Dobracki, Arlindo M. da Silva, Karla M. Longo, Meloë S. Kacenelenbogen, Connor J. Flynn, Kristina Pistone, Nichola M. Knox, Stuart J. Piketh, James M. Haywood, Paola Formenti, Marc Mallet, Philip Stier, Andrew S. Ackerman, Susanne E. Bauer, Ann M. Fridlind, Gregory R. Carmichael, Pablo E. Saide, Gonzalo A. Ferrada, Steven G. Howell, Steffen Freitag, Brian Cairns, Brent N. Holben, Kirk D. Knobelspiesse, Simone Tanelli, Tristan S. L'Ecuyer, Andrew M. Dzambo, Ousmane O. Sy, Greg M. McFarquhar, Michael R. Poellot, Siddhant Gupta, Joseph R. O'Brien, Athanasios Nenes, Mary Kacarab, Jenny P. S. Wong, Jennifer D. Small-Griswold, Kenneth L. Thornhill, David Noone, James R. Podolske, K. Sebastian Schmidt, Peter Pilewskie, Hong Chen, Sabrina P. Cochrane, Arthur J. Sedlacek, Timothy J. Lang, Eric Stith, Michal Segal-Rozenhaimer, Richard A. Ferrare, Sharon P. Burton, Chris A. Hostetler, David J. Diner, Felix C. Seidel, Steven E. Platnick, Jeffrey S. Myers, Kerry G. Meyer, Douglas A. Spangenberg, Hal Maring, and Lan Gao
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 21, 1507–1563,Short summary
Southern Africa produces significant biomass burning emissions whose impacts on regional and global climate are poorly understood. ORACLES (ObseRvations of Aerosols above CLouds and their intEractionS) is a 5-year NASA investigation designed to study the key processes that determine these climate impacts. The main purpose of this paper is to familiarize the broader scientific community with the ORACLES project, the dataset it produced, and the most important initial findings.
Norman B. Wood and Tristan S. L'Ecuyer
Atmos. Meas. Tech., 14, 869–888,Short summary
Although millimeter-wavelength radar reflectivity observations are used to investigate snowfall properties, their ability to constrain specific properties has not been well-quantified. An information-focused retrieval method shows how well snowfall properties, including rate and size distribution, are constrained by reflectivity. Sources of uncertainty in snowfall rate are dominated by uncertainties in the retrieved size distribution properties rather than by other retrieval assumptions.
Elin A. McIlhattan, Claire Pettersen, Norman B. Wood, and Tristan S. L'Ecuyer
The Cryosphere, 14, 4379–4404,Short summary
Snowfall builds the mass of the Greenland Ice Sheet (GrIS) and reduces melt by brightening the surface. We present satellite observations of GrIS snowfall events divided into two regimes: those coincident with ice clouds and those coincident with mixed-phase clouds. Snowfall from ice clouds plays the dominant role in building the GrIS, producing ~ 80 % of total accumulation. The two regimes have similar snowfall frequency in summer, brightening the surface when solar insolation is at its peak.
Anne Sophie Daloz, Marian Mateling, Tristan L'Ecuyer, Mark Kulie, Norm B. Wood, Mikael Durand, Melissa Wrzesien, Camilla W. Stjern, and Ashok P. Dimri
The Cryosphere, 14, 3195–3207,Short summary
The total of snow that falls globally is a critical factor governing freshwater availability. To better understand how this resource is impacted by climate change, we need to know how reliable the current observational datasets for snow are. Here, we compare five datasets looking at the snow falling over the mountains versus the other continents. We show that there is a large consensus when looking at fractional contributions but strong dissimilarities when comparing magnitudes.
Alyson Douglas and Tristan L'Ecuyer
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 20, 6225–6241,Short summary
Aerosols, or small, suspended droplets in the atmosphere, are released from anthropogenic activity and interact with warm clouds, leading to changes in the clouds' brightness and size. Our study evaluates how aerosols alter warm clouds and their ability to cool the Earth's surface. We find aerosols make clouds brighter and grow larger in the atmosphere; however, the cooling effect due to whiter, brighter clouds is 5 times the cooling due to an increased extent.
Manu Anna Thomas, Abhay Devasthale, Tristan L'Ecuyer, Shiyu Wang, Torben Koenigk, and Klaus Wyser
Geosci. Model Dev., 12, 3759–3772,Short summary
Snow cover significantly influences the surface albedo and radiation budget. Therefore, a realistic representation of snowfall in climate models is important. Here, using decade-long estimates of snowfall derived from the satellite sensor, four climate models are evaluated to assess how well they simulate snowfall in the Arctic. It is found that light and median snowfall is overestimated by the models in comparison to the satellite observations, and extreme snowfall is underestimated.
Alyson Douglas and Tristan L'Ecuyer
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 19, 6251–6268,Short summary
Aerosols are released by natural and human activities. When aerosols encounter clouds they interact in what is known as the indirect effect. Brighter clouds are expected due to the microphysical response; however, certain environments can trigger a modified response. Limits on the stability, humidity, and cloud thickness are applied regionally to investigate local cloud responses to aerosol, resulting in a range of indirect effects that would result in significant cooling or slight warming.
Florentin Lemonnier, Jean-Baptiste Madeleine, Chantal Claud, Christophe Genthon, Claudio Durán-Alarcón, Cyril Palerme, Alexis Berne, Niels Souverijns, Nicole van Lipzig, Irina V. Gorodetskaya, Tristan L'Ecuyer, and Norman Wood
The Cryosphere, 13, 943–954,Short summary
Evaluation of the vertical precipitation rate profiles of CloudSat radar by comparison with two surface-based micro-rain radars (MRR) located at two antarctic stations gives a near-perfect correlation between both datasets, even though climatic and geographic conditions are different for the stations. A better understanding and reassessment of CloudSat uncertainties ranging from −13 % up to +22 % confirms the robustness of the CloudSat retrievals of snowfall over Antarctica.
Johannes Mülmenstädt, Odran Sourdeval, David S. Henderson, Tristan S. L'Ecuyer, Claudia Unglaub, Leonore Jungandreas, Christoph Böhm, Lynn M. Russell, and Johannes Quaas
Earth Syst. Sci. Data, 10, 2279–2293,Short summary
One of the key pieces of information about a cloud is how high its base is. Unlike cloud top, cloud base is hard to observe from a satellite perspective – the cloud blocks the view. But without using satellites, it is difficult to compile global datasets. Here we describe how we worked around the limitations of a cloud-detecting laser satellite to observe global cloud base heights. This dataset will expand our knowledge of the cloudy atmosphere and its interaction with the planetary surface.
Heming Bai, Cheng Gong, Minghuai Wang, Zhibo Zhang, and Tristan L'Ecuyer
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 18, 1763–1783,Short summary
Precipitation susceptibility to aerosol perturbation plays a key role in understanding aerosol–cloud interactions and for constraining aerosol indirect effects. Here, multisensor aerosol and cloud products from A-Train satellites are analyzed to estimate precipitation susceptibility. Compared to precipitation intensity susceptibility, precipitation frequency susceptibility demonstrates relatively robust features across different retrieval products.
Lars Norin, Abhay Devasthale, and Tristan S. L'Ecuyer
Atmos. Meas. Tech., 10, 3249–3263,Short summary
For a high-latitude country like Sweden snowfall is an important contributor to the regional water cycle. For Sweden, large-scale atmospheric circulation patterns, or weather states, are important for precipitation variability. In this work we investigate the sensitivity of snowfall to weather states over Sweden to eight selected weather states. The analysis is based on measurements from ground-based radar, satellite observations, spatially interpolated in situ observations, and reanalysis data.
Steven J. Cooper, Norman B. Wood, and Tristan S. L'Ecuyer
Atmos. Meas. Tech., 10, 2557–2571,Short summary
Estimates of snowfall rate as derived from radar observations can suffer large uncertainties due to great natural variability in snowflake microphysical properties. We used in situ observations of particle size, shape, and fall speed to refine radar-based estimates of snowfall for five snow events at the ARM Barrow Climate Research Facility. Estimated snowfall amounts agreed well with nearby snow gauge observations and demonstrated significant sensitivity to both particle shape and fall speed.
Related subject area
Subject: Clouds and Precipitation | Research Activity: Remote Sensing | Altitude Range: Stratosphere | Science Focus: Physics (physical properties and processes)Measurement report: Plume heights of the April 2021 La Soufrière eruptions from GOES-17 side views and GOES-16–MODIS stereo viewsA global view on stratospheric ice clouds: assessment of processes related to their occurrence based on satellite observationsEmpirical evidence for deep convection being a major source of stratospheric ice clouds over North AmericaOn the best locations for ground-based polar stratospheric cloud (PSC) observationsRevisiting global satellite observations of stratospheric cirrus cloudsThe diurnal cycle of the clouds extending above the tropical tropopause observed by spaceborne lidarSatellite observations of cirrus clouds in the Northern Hemisphere lowermost stratosphereDetection of particle layers in backscatter profiles: application to Antarctic lidar measurementsThe 2009–2010 Arctic polar stratospheric cloud season: a CALIPSO perspectiveA climatological perspective of deep convection penetrating the TTL during the Indian summer monsoon from the AVHRR and MODIS instrumentsCALIPSO polar stratospheric cloud observations: second-generation detection algorithm and composition discrimination
Ákos Horváth, James L. Carr, Dong L. Wu, Julia Bruckert, Gholam Ali Hoshyaripour, and Stefan A. Buehler
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 22, 12311–12330,Short summary
We estimate plume heights for the April 2021 La Soufrière daytime eruptions using GOES-17 near-limb side views and GOES-16–MODIS stereo views. These geometric heights are then compared with brightness-temperature-based radiometric height estimates to characterize the biases of the latter. We also show that the side view method can be applied to infrared imagery and thus nighttime eruptions, albeit with larger uncertainty.
Ling Zou, Sabine Griessbach, Lars Hoffmann, and Reinhold Spang
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 22, 6677–6702,Short summary
Ice clouds in the stratosphere (SICs) greatly affect the water vapor balance and radiation budget in the upper troposphere and lower stratosphere (UTLS). We quantified the global SICs and analyzed their relationships with tropopause temperature, double tropopauses, UTLS clouds, gravity waves, and stratospheric aerosols. The correlations between SICs and all abovementioned processes indicate that the occurrence of and variability in SICs are spatiotemporally dependent on different processes.
Ling Zou, Lars Hoffmann, Sabine Griessbach, Reinhold Spang, and Lunche Wang
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 21, 10457–10475,Short summary
Ice clouds in the lowermost stratosphere (SICs) have important impacts on the radiation budget and climate change. We quantified the occurrence of SICs over North America and analysed its relations with convective systems and gravity waves to investigate potential formation mechanisms of SICs. Deep convection is proved to be the primary factor linked to the occurrence of SICs over North America.
Matthias Tesche, Peggy Achtert, and Michael C. Pitts
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 21, 505–516,Short summary
We combine spaceborne lidar observations of clouds in the troposphere and stratosphere to assess the outcome of ground-based polar stratospheric cloud (PSC) observations that are often performed at the mercy of tropospheric clouds. We find that the outcome of ground-based lidar measurements of PSCs depends on the location of the measurement. We also provide recommendations regarding the most suitable sites in the Arctic and Antarctic.
Ling Zou, Sabine Griessbach, Lars Hoffmann, Bing Gong, and Lunche Wang
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 20, 9939–9959,Short summary
Cirrus clouds appearing in the upper troposphere and lower stratosphere have important impacts on the radiation budget and climate change. We revisited global stratospheric cirrus clouds with CALIPSO and for the first time with MIPAS satellite observations. Stratospheric cirrus clouds related to deep convection are frequently detected in the tropics. At middle latitudes, MIPAS detects more than twice as many stratospheric cirrus clouds due to higher detection sensitivity.
Thibaut Dauhut, Vincent Noel, and Iris-Amata Dion
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 20, 3921–3929,Short summary
We document for the first time the diurnal cycle of the clouds in the tropical stratosphere, using the measurements from the lidar on board the International Space Station. The stratospheric clouds are concentrated over the convective centers. Their cloud fraction is minimal and limited to the vicinity of the tropopause during daytime. It presents two maxima: one in the early night and one shortly after midnight, when clouds also extend deeper in the stratosphere.
R. Spang, G. Günther, M. Riese, L. Hoffmann, R. Müller, and S. Griessbach
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 15, 927–950,Short summary
Here we present observations of the Cryogenic Infrared Spectrometers and Telescopes for the Atmosphere (CRISTA) of cirrus cloud and water vapour in August 1997 in the upper troposphere and lower stratosphere (UTLS) region. The observations indicate a considerable flux of moisture from the upper tropical troposphere into the extra-tropical lowermost stratosphere (LMS), resulting in the occurrence of high-altitude optically thin cirrus clouds in the LMS.
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High-altitude clouds in the tropics that reside in the transition layer between the troposphere and stratosphere are important as they influence the amount of water vapor going into the stratosphere. Waves in the atmosphere can influence the temperature and form these high-altitude cirrus clouds. We use satellite observations to explore the connection between atmospheric waves and clouds and show that cirrus clouds occurrence and properties are closely correlated with waves.
High-altitude clouds in the tropics that reside in the transition layer between the troposphere...