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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2019-166
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2019-166
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 13 Mar 2019

Research article | 13 Mar 2019

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP).

Diurnal variation of high-level clouds from the synergy of AIRS and IASI space-borne infrared sounders

Artem G. Feofilov and Claudia J. Stubenrauch Artem G. Feofilov and Claudia J. Stubenrauch
  • LMD/IPSL, Sorbonne Université, UPMC Univ Paris 06, CNRS, École polytechnique, Palaiseau, 91128, France

Abstract. Among the processes governing the energy balance of our planet, high-level clouds, due to their coverage of about 30 %, play an important role. The net radiative effect (cooling or warming of the planet) of these clouds strongly depends on their emissivity. The combination of cloud data retrieved from two space-borne infrared sounders, the Atmospheric InfraRed Sounder, AIRS, and the Infrared Atmospheric Sounding Interferometer, IASI, which observe the Earth at four local times per day, allows to investigate the diurnal variation of these high-level clouds, distinguishing between high opaque, cirrus, and thin cirrus clouds. We demonstrate that the diurnal phase and amplitude of high-level clouds can be estimated from these measurements with an uncertainty of 1.5 h and 20 %, respectively. We have applied the developed methodology to AIRS and IASI observations and obtained monthly distributions of diurnal phase and amplitude for the period 0f 2008–2015. In agreement with other studies, the diurnal cycle is the largest over land in the tropics. At higher latitudes, the diurnal cycle is the largest during the summer. For the regions of high diurnal activity over land, the diurnal amplitudes of cloud amount are about 7 % for high opaque clouds, 9 % for cirrus, and 7 % for thin cirrus clouds. Over ocean, these values are 2 to 3 times smaller. The diurnal cycle of tropical thin cirrus seems to be similar over land and over ocean, with a minimum in the morning (9 h LT) and a maximum during night (1 h LT). Tropical high opaque clouds have a maximum in the evening (21 h LT over land), a few hours after the peak of convective rain. This lag is explained by the fact that this cloud type not only includes the convective cores, but also part of the thicker anvils. Tropical cirrus (with an emissivity > 0.5 or visible optical depth > 1.4) show a maximum amount during night (1 h LT over land). This lag indicates that they may be a part of the deep convective cloud systems. However, the peak local times also vary regionally. We are providing a global monthly database of detected diurnal cycle amplitude and phase for each cloud type.

Artem G. Feofilov and Claudia J. Stubenrauch
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Artem G. Feofilov and Claudia J. Stubenrauch
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Short summary
Clouds play an important role in the energy budget of the planet: optically thick clouds reflect the incoming solar radiation leading to cooling of the Earth while thinner clouds act as greenhouse films preventing escape of the Earth’s infrared radiation to space. Satellite observations provide a continuous survey of clouds over the whole globe. In this work, we use a combination of two space borne sounders to retrieve and analyze the characteristics of diurnal variation of high-level clouds.
Clouds play an important role in the energy budget of the planet: optically thick clouds reflect...
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