Small-scale structure of thermodynamic phase in Arctic mixed-phase clouds observed by airborne remote sensing during a cold air outbreak and a warm air advection event


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Roland.Neuber [ at ] awi.de

Abstract

The synergy between airborne lidar, radar, passive microwave, and passive imaging spectrometer measurements was used to characterize the vertical and small-scale (down to 10 m) horizontal distribution of the cloud thermodynamic phase. Two case studies of low-level Arctic clouds in a cold air outbreak and a warm air advection observed during the Arctic CLoud Observations Using airborne measurements during polar Day (ACLOUD) were investigated. Both clouds exhibited the typical vertical mixed-phase structure with mostly liquid water droplets at cloud top and ice crystals in lower layers. The cloud top horizontal small-scale variability observed during the cold air outbreak is dominated by the liquid water close to the cloud top and shows no indication of ice in lower cloud layers. Contrastingly, the cloud top variability of the case observed during a warm air advection showed some ice in areas of low reflectivity or cloud holes. Radiative transfer simulations considering homogeneous mixtures of liquid water droplets and ice crystals were able to reproduce the horizontal variability of this warm air advection. To account for more realistic vertical distributions of the thermodynamic phase, large eddy simulations (LES) were performed to reconstruct the observed cloud properties and were used as input for radiative transfer simulations. The simulations of the cloud observed during the cold air outbreak, with mostly liquid water at cloud top, realistically reproduced the observations. For the warm air advection case, the simulated cloud field underestimated the ice water content (IWC). Nevertheless, it revealed the presence of ice particles close to the cloud top and confirmed the observed horizontal variability of the cloud field. It is concluded that the cloud top small-scale horizontal variability reacts to changes in the vertical distribution of the cloud thermodynamic phase. Passive satellite-borne imaging spectrometer observations with pixel sizes larger than 100 m miss the small-scale cloud top structures, which limits their capabilities to provide indications about the cloud vertical structure.



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ISI/Scopus peer-reviewed
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Published
Eprint ID
51921
DOI 10.5194/acp-20-5487-2020

Cite as
Ruiz-Donoso, E. , Ehrlich, A. , Schäfer, M. , Jäkel, E. , Schemann, V. , Crewell, S. , Mech, M. , Kulla, B. S. , Kliesch, L. L. , Neuber, R. and Wendisch, M. (2020): Small-scale structure of thermodynamic phase in Arctic mixed-phase clouds observed by airborne remote sensing during a cold air outbreak and a warm air advection event , Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, 20 (9), pp. 5487-5511 . doi: 10.5194/acp-20-5487-2020


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