Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss., 9, 23589-23622, 2009
© Author(s) 2009. 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.
On the transitions in marine boundary layer cloudiness
I. Sandu1, B. Stevens1,2, and R. Pincus3
1Max Planck Institute for Meteorology, Hamburg, Germany
2University of California at Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California, USA
3University of Colorado/NOAA Earth System Research Lab, Boulder, Colorado, USA

Abstract. Satellite observations and meteorological reanalysis are used to examine the transition from unbroken sheets of stratocumulus to fields of scattered cumulus, and the processes controlling them, in four subtropical ocean basins. A Lagrangian analysis suggests that both the transition, defined as the temporal evolution in cloudiness, and the processes driving the transition, are quite similar among the oceanic basins. The transitions in marine boundary layer cloudiness are an extremely persistent feature of the subtropical ocean's environment, so that the transitions' characteristics obtained by documenting the flow of thousands of individual air masses are well reproduced by the mean (or climatological) fields of the different data sets. This opens new opportunities for future observations and modeling studies of these transitions.

Citation: Sandu, I., Stevens, B., and Pincus, R.: On the transitions in marine boundary layer cloudiness, Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss., 9, 23589-23622, doi:10.5194/acpd-9-23589-2009, 2009.
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