06 Jan 2023
06 Jan 2023
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal ACP.

Variability and properties of liquid-dominated clouds over the ice-free and sea-ice-covered Arctic Ocean

Marcus Klingebiel1, André Ehrlich1, Elena Ruiz-Donoso1, Nils Risse2, Imke Schirmacher2, Evelyn Jäkel1, Michael Schäfer1, Kevin Wolf5, Mario Mech2, Manuel Moser3,4, Christiane Voigt3,4, and Manfred Wendisch1 Marcus Klingebiel et al.
  • 1Leipziger Institut für Meteorologie (LIM), Universität Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany
  • 2Institut für Geophysik und Meteorologie (IGM), Universität zu Köln, Cologne, Germany
  • 3Institut für Physik der Atmosphäre, Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt, Wessling, Germany
  • 4Institut für Physik der Atmosphäre, Johannes Gutenberg-Universität, Mainz, Germany
  • 5Institut Pierre-Simon Laplace, Sorbonne Université/CNRS, Paris, France

Abstract. Due to their potential to either warm or cool the surface, liquid-phase clouds and their interaction with the ice-free and sea-ice-covered ocean largely determine the energy budget and surface temperature in the Arctic. Here, we use airborne measurements of solar spectral cloud reflectivity obtained during the ACLOUD campaign in summer 2017 and the AFLUX campaign in spring 2019 in the vicinity of Svalbard to retrieve microphysical properties of liquid-phase clouds. The retrieval was tailored to provide consistent results over sea-ice and open ocean surfaces. Clouds including ice crystals that significantly bias the retrieval results were filtered from the analysis. A comparison with in-situ measurements shows a good agreement with the retrieved effective radii and an overestimation of the liquid water path and a reduced agreement for boundary-layer clouds with varying fractions of ice water content. Considering these limitations, retrieved microphysical properties of clouds observed over ice-free ocean and sea-ice in spring and early summer in the Arctic are compared. In early summer, the liquid-phase clouds have a larger median effective radius (9.5 µm), optical thickness (11.8) and liquid water path (72.3 g m-2) compared to spring conditions (8.7 µm, 8.3, 51.8 g m-2, respectively). The results show larger cloud droplets over the ice-free Arctic Ocean compared to sea-ice in spring and early summer caused mainly by the temperature differences of the surfaces and related convection processes. Due to their larger droplet sizes the liquid clouds over the ice-free ocean have slightly reduced optical thicknesses and lower liquid water contents compared to the sea-ice surface conditions. The comprehensive data set on microphysical properties of Arctic liquid-phase clouds is publicly available and could, e.g., help to constrain models or be used to investigate effects of liquid-phase clouds on the radiation budget.

Marcus Klingebiel et al.

Status: open (until 25 Feb 2023)

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Marcus Klingebiel et al.

Marcus Klingebiel et al.


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Short summary
In this study we explain how we use aircraft measurements from two Arctic research campaigns to identify cloud properties (like droplet size) over sea-ice and ice-free ocean. To make sure that our measurements make sense, we compare them with other observations. Our results show e.g. larger cloud droplets in early summer than in spring. Moreover, the cloud droplets are also larger over ice-free ocean than compared to sea-ice. In the future, our data can be used to improve climate models.