Articles | Volume 7, issue 21
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 7, 5519–5530, 2007
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 7, 5519–5530, 2007

  02 Nov 2007

02 Nov 2007

Optical and geometrical characteristics of cirrus clouds over a Southern European lidar station

E. Giannakaki1, D. S. Balis1, V. Amiridis2, and S. Kazadzis1 E. Giannakaki et al.
  • 1Laboratory of Atmospheric Physics, Thessaloniki, Greece
  • 2Institute for Space Applications and Remote Sensing, Athens, Greece

Abstract. Optical and geometrical characteristics of cirrus clouds over Thessaloniki, Greece (40.6° N, 22.9° E) have been determined from the analysis of lidar and radiosonde measurements performed during the period from 2000 to 2006. Cirrus clouds are generally observed in a mid-altitude region ranging from 8.6 to 13 km, with mid-cloud temperatures in the range from −65° to −38°C. The cloud thickness generally ranges from 1 to 5 km and 38{%} of the cases studied have thickness between 2 and 3 km. The retrieval of optical depth and lidar ratio of cirrus clouds is performed using three different methods, taking into account multiple scattering effect. The mean optical depth is found to be 0.31±0.24 and the corresponding mean lidar ratio is 30±17 sr following the scheme of Klett-Fernald method. Sub-visual, thin and opaque cirrus clouds are observed at 3%, 57% and 40% of the measured cases, respectively. A comparison of the results obtained between the three methods shows good agreement. The multiple scattering errors of the measured effective extinction coefficients range from 20 to 60%, depending on cloud optical depth. The temperature and thickness dependencies on optical properties have also been studied in detail. A maximum mid-cloud depth of ~3.5 km is found at temperatures around ~−47.5°C, while there is an indication that optical depth and mean extinction coefficient increases with increasing mid-cloud temperature. A correlation between optical depth and thickness was also found. However, no clear dependence of the lidar ratio values on the cloud temperature and thickness was found.

Final-revised paper