Articles | Volume 6, issue 10
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 6, 2887–2894, 2006
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 6, 2887–2894, 2006

  12 Jul 2006

12 Jul 2006

The time-space exchangeability of satellite retrieved relations between cloud top temperature and particle effective radius

I. M. Lensky1 and D. Rosenfeld2 I. M. Lensky and D. Rosenfeld
  • 1Department of Geography and Environmental Studies, Bar-Ilan University, Ramat-Gan, Israel
  • 2Institute of Earth Sciences, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel

Abstract. A 3-minute 3-km rapid scan of the METEOSAT Second Generation geostationary satellite over southern Africa was applied to tracking the evolution of cloud top temperature (T) and particle effective radius (re) of convective elements. The evolution of T-re relations showed little dependence on time, leaving re to depend almost exclusively on T. Furthermore, cloud elements that fully grew to large cumulonimbus stature had the same T-re relations as other clouds in the same area with limited development that decayed without ever becoming a cumulonimbus. Therefore, a snap shot of T-re relations over a cloud field provides the same relations as composed from tracking the time evolution of T and re of individual clouds, and then compositing them. This is the essence of exchangeability of time and space scales, i.e., ergodicity, of the T-re relations for convective clouds. This property has allowed inference of the microphysical evolution of convective clouds with a snap shot from a polar orbiter. The fundamental causes for the ergodicity are suggested to be the observed stability of re for a given height above cloud base in a convective cloud, and the constant renewal of growing cloud tops with cloud bubbles that replace the cloud tops with fresh cloud matter from below.

Final-revised paper