Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2021-812
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2021-812

  15 Oct 2021

15 Oct 2021

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

An assessment of macrophysical and microphysical cloud properties driving radiative forcing of shallow trade-wind clouds

Anna Elizabeth Luebke1, André Ehrlich1, Michael Schäfer1, Kevin Wolf1,2, and Manfred Wendisch1 Anna Elizabeth Luebke et al.
  • 1Leipzig Institute for Meteorology, University of Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany
  • 2Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado, USA

Abstract. The clouds in the Atlantic trade-wind region are known to have an important role in the global climate system. Acquiring a comprehensive characterization of these clouds based on observations is a challenge, but it is a necessary piece of information for the evaluation of their representation in models. An exploration of how the macrophysical and microphysical cloud properties and organization of the cloud field impact the large-scale cloud radiative forcing is presented here. Direct measurements of the cloud radiative effects from the Broadband AirCrAft RaDiometer Instrumentation (BACARDI) on board the High Altitude and LOng Range Research Aircraft (HALO) and cloud observations from the GOES-16 satellite during the Elucidating the role of clouds-circulation coupling in climate (EUREC4A) campaign provide evidence to demonstrate what drives the cloud radiative effects in shallow trade-wind clouds. We find that the solar and terrestrial radiative effects of these clouds are largely driven by their macrophysical properties (cloud fraction and a scene-averaged liquid water path). However, we also conclude that the microphysical properties, cloud top height and the organization of the cloud field demonstrate an increasing relevance in determining the cloud radiative effects as the cloud fraction increases.

Anna Elizabeth Luebke et al.

Status: open (until 10 Dec 2021)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse

Anna Elizabeth Luebke et al.

Anna Elizabeth Luebke et al.

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Short summary
A combination of aircraft and satellite observations are used to show how the characteristics of tropical shallow clouds interact with incoming and outgoing energy. A complete depiction of these clouds is challenging to obtain, but such data is useful for understanding how models can correctly represent them. The amount of cloud is found to be the most important factor, while other cloud characteristics become increasingly impactful when more cloud is present.
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