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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2019-290
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2019-290
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 09 Apr 2019

Submitted as: research article | 09 Apr 2019

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

Modelling the relationship between liquid water content and cloud droplet number concentration observed in low clouds in the summer Arctic and its radiative effects

Joelle Dionne1, Knut von~Salzen2,3,4, Jason Cole2, Rashed Mahmood3,a, W.~Richard Leaitch2, Glen Lesins1, Ian Folkins1, and Rachel~Y.-W. Chang1 Joelle Dionne et al.
  • 1Physics and Atmospheric Science Department, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Canada
  • 2Climate Research Division, Science and Technology Branch, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Toronto, Canada
  • 3School of Earth and Ocean Sciences, University of Victoria, Victoria, Canada
  • 4Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences Department, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada
  • anow at: Department of Atmospheric Science, School of Environmental Studies, China University of Geosciences, Wuhan, China

Abstract. Low clouds persist in the summer Arctic with important consequences for the radiation budget. In this study, we simulate the linear relationship between liquid water content (LWC) and cloud droplet number concentration (CDNC) observed during an aircraft campaign based out of Resolute Bay, Canada conducted as part of the NETCARE study in July 2014. Using a single column model, we find that autoconversion can explain the observed linear relationship between LWC and CDNC. Of the three schemes we examined, the autoconversion scheme using continuous drizzle (Khairoutdinov and Kogan, 2000) appears to best reproduce the observed linearity in the tenuous-cloud regime (Mauritsen et al., 2011), while a scheme with a threshold for rain (Liu and Daum, 2004) best reproduces the linearity at higher CDNC. An offline version of the radiative transfer model used in the Canadian Atmospheric Model version 4.3 is used to compare the radiative effects of the modelled and observed clouds. We find that there is no significant difference in the upward longwave fluxes at the top of the atmosphere from the three autoconversion schemes (p = 0.05), but that all three schemes differ at p = 0.05 from the calculations based on observations. In contrast, the downward longwave and shortwave fluxes at the surface for all three schemes do not differ significantly (p = 0.01) from the observation-based radiative calculations.

Joelle Dionne et al.
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Joelle Dionne et al.
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Short summary
Low clouds persist in the summer Arctic with important consequences for the radiation budget. We found that the ability of precipitation parameterizations to reproduce observed cloud properties was more variable than their better representation of radiative effects. Our results show that cloud properties and their parameterizations affect the radiative effects of clouds.
Low clouds persist in the summer Arctic with important consequences for the radiation budget. We...
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