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Discussion papers | Copyright
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2018-21
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 31 Jan 2018

Research article | 31 Jan 2018

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This discussion paper is a preprint. A revision of the manuscript for further review has not been submitted.

Ice crystal number concentration estimates from lidar-radar satellite retrievals. Part 2: Controls on the ice crystal number concentration

Edward Gryspeerdt1, Odran Sourdeval2, Johannes Quaas2, Julien Delanoë3, and Philipp Kühne2 Edward Gryspeerdt et al.
  • 1Space and Atmospheric Physics Group, Imperial College London, London, UK
  • 2Institute for Meteorology, Universität Leipzig, Germany
  • 3Laboratoire Atmosphères, Milieux, Observations Spatiales/IPSL/UVSQ/CNRS/UPMC, Guyancourt, France

Abstract. The ice crystal number concentration (Ni) is a key property of ice clouds, both radiatively and microphysically. However, due to sparse in-situ measurements of ice cloud properties, the controls on the Ni have remained difficult to determine. As more advanced treatments of ice clouds are included in global models, it is becoming increasingly necessary to develop strong observational constraints on the processes involved.

This work uses the DARDAR-LIM Ni retrieval described in part one to investigate the controls of the Ni at a global scale. The retrieved clouds are separated by type. The effects of temperature, proxies for in-cloud updraught and aerosol concentrations are investigated. Variations in the cloud top Ni (Ni(top)) consistent with both homogeneous and heterogeneous nucleation are observed and along with a possible role of aerosol both increasing and decreasing the Ni(top) depending on the prevailing meteorological situation. Away from the cloud top, the Ni displays a different sensitivity to these controlling factors, providing a possible explanation to the low Ni sensitivity to temperature and INP observed in previous in-situ studies.

This satellite dataset provides a new way of investigating the response of cloud properties to meteorological and aerosol controls. The results presented in this work increase our confidence in the retrieved Ni and will form the basis for further study into the processes influencing ice and mixed phase clouds.

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Edward Gryspeerdt et al.
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Latest update: 15 Jul 2018
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Short summary
The concentration of ice crystals in a cloud affects both the properties and the lifecycle of a cloud. This work uses a new satellite retrieval to investigate the controls on the ice crystal concentration at a global scale. Both temperature and vertical windspeed in a cloud have a strong impact on the concentration of ice crystals. The ice crystal number is also related to the aerosol environment, showing how this work opens up new ways to investigate the human impact on clouds and the climate.
The concentration of ice crystals in a cloud affects both the properties and the lifecycle of a...
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