Journal cover Journal topic
Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
doi:10.5194/acp-2016-1132
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed
under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
12 Jan 2017
Review status
This discussion paper is under review for the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP).
Cloud vertical distribution from combined surface and space radar/lidar observations at two Arctic atmospheric observations
Yinghui Liu1, Matthew D. Shupe2, Zhien Wang3, and Gerald Mace4 1Cooperative Institute of Meteorological Satellite Studies, University of Wisconsin at Madison, Madison, WI, USA
2Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, University of Colorado and NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory, Boulder, CO, USA
3University of Wyoming, Laramie, Wyoming, USA
4University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT, USA
Abstract. Detailed and accurate vertical distributions of cloud properties (such as cloud fraction, cloud phase, and cloud water content) and their changes are essential to accurately calculate the surface radiative flux and to depict the mean climate state. Surface- and space-based active sensors including radar and lidar are ideal to provide this information due to their superior capability to detect clouds and retrieve cloud microphysical properties. In this study, we compared the annual cycles of cloud property vertical distributions from satellite active sensors and surface-based active sensors at two Arctic atmospheric observation stations, Barrow and Eureka. We used this data to identify the sensors’ respective strengths and limitations and to develop a blended cloud property vertical distribution by combining both sets of observations. Results show that surface-based observations offer a more detailed cloud property vertical distribution from the surface up to 11 km above mean sea level (AMSL) with limitations in the middle and high altitudes; the annual mean total cloud fraction from space-based observations see 25–40 % fewer clouds below 0.5 km than that from surface-based observations, and space-based observations also show much less ice cloud and mixed phase cloud, and slightly greater liquid cloud from the surface to 1 km; space-based observations show comparable cloud fraction between 1 km and 2 km AMSL, and greater cloud fraction above 2 km AMSL than that from surface-based observations. The blended product combines the strength of both products to provide a more reliable annual cycle of cloud property vertical distribution annual cycle from the surface to 11 km AMSL. This information can be valuable for deriving an accurate surface radiative budget in the Arctic and for cloud parameterization evaluation in weather and climate models.

Citation: Liu, Y., Shupe, M. D., Wang, Z., and Mace, G.: Cloud vertical distribution from combined surface and space radar/lidar observations at two Arctic atmospheric observations, Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss., doi:10.5194/acp-2016-1132, in review, 2017.
Yinghui Liu et al.
Yinghui Liu et al.
Yinghui Liu et al. Metrics will be available soon.
Latest update: 18 Jan 2017
Publications Copernicus
Download
Short summary
Detailed and accurate vertical distributions of cloud properties are essential to accurately calculate the surface radiative flux and to depict the mean climate state, and such information are more desirable in the Arctic due to its rencent rapid changes and the challenging observation conditions. This study presents a feasible way to provide such information by blending cloud observations from surface and space-based instruments with understanding their respective strength and limitations.
Detailed and accurate vertical distributions of cloud properties are essential to accurately...
Share