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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2019-770
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2019-770
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 08 Oct 2019

Submitted as: research article | 08 Oct 2019

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

Diurnal cycle of clouds extending above the tropical tropopause observed by spaceborne lidar

Thibaut Dauhut1, Vincent Noël2, and Iris-Amata Dion3 Thibaut Dauhut et al.
  • 1Max Planck Institute for Meteorology, Hamburg, Germany
  • 2Laboratoire d’Aérologie, Université de Toulouse, CNRS, UPS, Toulouse, France
  • 3CRNM, Météo-France – CNRS, Toulouse, 31057, France

Abstract. The presence of clouds above the tropopause over tropical convection centers has so far been documented by spaceborne instruments that are either sun-synchronous, or insensitive to thin cloud layers. Here we document, for the first time through direct observation by spaceborne lidar, how the tropical cloud fraction evolves above the tropopause throughout the day. After confirming previous studies that found such clouds are most frequent above convection centers, we show that stratospheric clouds and their vertical extent above the tropopause follow a diurnal rhythm linked to convective activity. The diurnal cycle of the stratospheric clouds displays two maxima: one in the early night (19–20 LT) and a later one (00–01 LT). Stratospheric clouds extend up to 0.5–1 km above the tropopause during nighttime, when they are the most frequent. The frequency and the vertical extent of stratospheric clouds is very limited during daytime, and when present they are found very close to the tropopause. Results are similar over the major convection centers (Africa, South America, Warm pool), with more clouds above land in DJF and less above ocean and JJA.

Thibaut Dauhut et al.
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Short summary
We document for the first time the diurnal cycle of the clouds in the tropical stratosphere, using the measurements from the lidar onboard the international space station. The stratospheric clouds are concentrated over the convective centers. Their cloud fraction is minimal and limited to the vicinity of the tropopause during daytime. It presents two maxima: one in the early night and one shortly after midnight, when clouds also extend deeper in stratosphere.
We document for the first time the diurnal cycle of the clouds in the tropical stratosphere,...
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