Airborne observations of a subvisible midlevel Arctic ice cloud: microphysical and radiative characterization
1Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research, 14473 Potsdam, Germany
2Institut für Physik der Atmosphäre, DLR Oberpfaffenhofen, 82234 Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany
3Johannes Gutenberg-Universität, 55099 Mainz, Germany
4Laboratoire de Météorologie Physique UMR 6016 CNRS/Université Blaise Pascal, France
5Laboratoire de Météorologie Physique, Institut Universitaire de Technologie de Montluçon, 03101 Montluçon Cedex, France
Abstract. During the Arctic Study of Tropospheric Aerosol, Clouds and Radiation (ASTAR) campaign, which was conducted in March and April 2007, an optically thin ice cloud was observed at around 3 km altitude south of Svalbard. The microphysical and radiative properties of this particular subvisible midlevel cloud were investigated with complementary remote sensing and in-situ instruments. Collocated airborne lidar remote-sensing and spectral solar radiation measurements were performed at a flight altitude of 2300 m below the cloud base. Under almost stationary atmospheric conditions, the same subvisible midlevel cloud was probed with various in-situ sensors roughly 30 min later.
From individual ice crystal samples detected with the Cloud Particle Imager and the ensemble of particles measured with the Polar Nephelometer, we retrieved the single-scattering albedo, the scattering phase function as well as the volume extinction coefficient and the effective diameter of the crystal population. Furthermore, a lidar ratio of 21 (±6) sr was deduced by two independent methods. These parameters in conjunction with the cloud optical thickness obtained from the lidar measurements were used to compute spectral and broadband radiances and irradiances with a radiative transfer code. The simulated results agreed with the observed spectral downwelling radiance within the range given by the measurement uncertainty. Furthermore, the broadband radiative simulations estimated a net (solar plus thermal infrared) radiative forcing of the subvisible midlevel ice cloud of −0.4 W m−2 (−3.2 W m−2 in the solar and +2.8 W m−2 in the thermal infrared wavelength range).