Classification of Arctic multilayer clouds using radiosonde and radar data in Svalbard

Marion.Maturilli [ at ]


Multilayer clouds (MLCs) occur more often in theArctic than globally. In this study we present the results of a detection algorithm applied to radiosonde and radar datafrom an 1-year time period in Ny-Ålesund, Svalbard. Multi-layer cloud occurrence is found on 29 % of the investigated days. These multilayer cloud cases are further analysed regarding the possibility of ice crystal seeding, meaning that an ice crystal can survive sublimation in a subsaturated layer between two cloud layers when falling through this layer. For this we analyse profiles of relative humidity with respect to ice to identify super- and subsaturated air layers. Then the sublimation of an ice crystal of an assumed initial size of r=400 μm on its way through the subsaturated layer is calculated. If the ice crystal still exists when reaching a lower supersaturated layer, ice crystal seeding can potentially take place. Seeding cases are found often, in 23 % of the investigated days (100 % includes all days, as well as non-cloudy days). The identification of seeding cases is limited by the radar signal inside the subsaturated layer. Clearly separated multilayer clouds, defined by a clear interstice in the radar image, do not interact through seeding (9 % of the investigated days). There are various deviations between the relative humidity profiles and the radar images, e.g. due to the lack of ice-nucleating particles (INPs) and cloud condensation nuclei (CCN). Additionally, horizontal wind drift of the radiosonde and time restriction when comparing radiosonde and radar data cause further deviations. In order to account for some of these deviations, an evaluation by manual visual inspection is done for the non-seeding cases.

Item Type
Primary Division
Primary Topic
Research Networks
Peer revision
ISI/Scopus peer-reviewed
Publication Status
Eprint ID
DOI 10.5194/acp-19-5111-2019

Cite as
Vassel, M. , Ickes, L. , Maturilli, M. and Hoose, C. (2019): Classification of Arctic multilayer clouds using radiosonde and radar data in Svalbard , Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, 19 , pp. 5111-5126 . doi: 10.5194/acp-19-5111-2019


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