Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss., 11, 14883-14902, 2011
www.atmos-chem-phys-discuss.net/11/14883/2011/
doi:10.5194/acpd-11-14883-2011
© Author(s) 2011. This work is distributed
under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
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This discussion paper has been under review for the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP). Please refer to the corresponding final paper in ACP.
Revised identification of tropical oceanic cumulus congestus as viewed by CloudSat
S. P. F. Casey1,*, E. J. Fetzer1, and B. H. Kahn1
1Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA, USA
*current address: Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center/Joint Center for Satellite Data Assimilation, College Park, MD, USA

Abstract. Congestus cloud convective features are examined in one year of tropical oceanic cloud observations from the CloudSat/CALIPSO instruments. Two types of convective clouds (cumulus and deep convective, based on classification profiles from radar), and associated differences in radar reflectivity and radar/lidar cloud-top height are considered. Congestus convective features are defined as contiguous convective clouds with heights between 3 and 9 km. A majority of congestus convective features satisfy one of three criteria used in previous studies: (1) CloudSat and CALIPSO cloud-top heights less than 1 km apart; (2) CloudSat 0 dBZ echo-top height less than 1 km from CloudSat cloud-top height, and (3) CloudSat 10 dBZ echo-top height less than 2 km from CloudSat cloud-top height. However, less than half of congestus convective features satisfy all three of these requirements. This implies that previous methods used to identify congestus clouds may be biased towards more vigorous convection, missing more than half of observed congestus and significantly misrepresenting the deduced relationship between congestus clouds and their surroundings.

Citation: Casey, S. P. F., Fetzer, E. J., and Kahn, B. H.: Revised identification of tropical oceanic cumulus congestus as viewed by CloudSat, Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss., 11, 14883-14902, doi:10.5194/acpd-11-14883-2011, 2011.
 
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