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Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Discussion papers
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 17 Sep 2018

Research article | 17 Sep 2018

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This discussion paper is a preprint. A revision of the manuscript is under review for the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP).

Classification of Arctic multilayer clouds using radiosonde and radar data

Maiken Vassel1, Luisa Ickes2, Marion Maturilli3, and Corinna Hoose1 Maiken Vassel et al.
  • 1Institute of Meteorology and Climate Research, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Karlsruhe, Germany
  • 2Department of Meteorology, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden
  • 3Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research, Potsdam, Germany

Abstract. Multilayer clouds (MLC) occur more often in the Arctic than globally. In this study a ground-based detection algorithm is developed using radiosoundings and radar from an one-year time period in Ny-Ålesund, Svalbard. The detection algorithm results in a multilayer cloud occurrence of 29% of the investigated days. These multilayer cloud cases are further analysed regarding the possibility of ice crystal seeding. Ice crystal seeding means that an ice crystal can survive sublimation in a subsaturated layer between two cloud layers when falling through this layer. For this we analyse height profiles of relative humidity with respect to ice to identify super- and subsaturated air layers. Then the sublimation of an ice crystal of an assumed initial size of r=100μm on its way through the subsaturated layer is calculated. If the ice crystal still exists when reaching a lower supersaturated layer, ice crystal seeding can potentially take place. Seeding cases are found often, in 23% of the investigated days. The identification of seeding cases is limited by the radar signal inside the subsaturated layer. Clearly separated multilayer clouds, defined by a clear interstice in the radar image, do not interact through seeding (9% of the investigated days). Since there are various deviations between the relative humidity profiles and the radar images, for the non-seeding cases an evaluation by manual visual inspection is additionally done.

Maiken Vassel et al.
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Maiken Vassel et al.
Maiken Vassel et al.
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Short summary
Multilayer clouds are co-existing clouds in different heights. We evaluate measurements and find that Arctic multilayer clouds occur at 29 % of the investigated days at Ny-Ålesund, Svalbard. Multilayer clouds can interact by ice crystals falling from the upper cloud into the lower cloud. This is possible in 23 % of the investigated days and in 9 % it is not possible. Weather models are still erroneous in the Arctic and we suggest that multilayer clouds should be included more in future work.
Multilayer clouds are co-existing clouds in different heights. We evaluate measurements and find...