Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2021-302
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2021-302

  01 Jul 2021

01 Jul 2021

Review status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal ACP.

Methodology to determine the coupling of continental clouds with surface from lidar and meteorological data

Tianning Su, Youtong Zheng, and Zhanqing Li Tianning Su et al.
  • Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences & ESSIC, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland 20740, USA

Abstract. The states of coupling between clouds and surface or boundary-layer have been investigated much more extensively for marine stratocumulus clouds than for continental low clouds, partly due to more complex thermodynamic structures over land. A manifestation is a lack of robust remote sensing methods to identify coupled and decoupled clouds over land. Here, we have generalized the concept of coupling and decoupling to low clouds over land, based on potential temperature profiles. Furthermore, by using ample measurements from a lidar and a suite of surface meteorological instruments at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Atmospheric Radiation Measurement Program’s Southern Great Plains site from 1998 to 2019, we have developed a method to simultaneously retrieve the planetary boundary layer (PBL) height (PBLH) and coupled states under cloudy conditions during the daytime. The coupled states derived from lidar show strong consistency with those derived from radiosondes. Retrieving the PBLH under cloudy conditions that has been a persistent problem in lidar remote sensing, is resolved in this study. Our method can lead to high-quality retrievals of the PBLH under cloudy conditions and the determination of cloud coupling states. With the new method, we find that coupled clouds are sensitive to changes in the PBL with a strong diurnal cycle, whereas decoupled clouds and the PBL are weakly related. Since coupled and decoupled clouds have distinct features, our new method offers an advanced tool to separately investigate them in climate systems.

Tianning Su et al.

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on acp-2021-302', Anonymous Referee #1, 22 Jul 2021
  • RC2: 'Comment on acp-2021-302', Anonymous Referee #2, 01 Oct 2021

Tianning Su et al.

Tianning Su et al.

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Short summary
To enrich our understanding of coupling of continental clouds, we developed a novel methodology to determine cloud coupling state from a lidar and a suite of surface meteorological instruments. This method is built upon advancement in our understanding of fundamental boundary-layer processes and clouds. As the first remote sensing method for determining the coupling state of low clouds over land, this methodology paves a solid ground for further investigating the coupled land-atmosphere system.
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