skip to main content

Title: Profiles of MBL Cloud and Drizzle Microphysical Properties Retrieved From Ground‐Based Observations and Validated by Aircraft In Situ Measurements Over the Azores

The profiles of marine boundary layer (MBL) cloud and drizzle microphysical properties are important for studying the cloud‐to‐rain conversion and growth processes in MBL clouds. However, it is challenging to simultaneously retrieve both cloud and drizzle microphysical properties within an MBL cloud layer using ground‐based observations. In this study, methods were developed to first decompose drizzle and cloud reflectivity in MBL clouds from Atmospheric Radiation Measurement cloud radar reflectivity measurements and then simultaneously retrieve cloud and drizzle microphysical properties during the Aerosol and Cloud Experiments in the Eastern North Atlantic (ACE‐ENA) campaign. These retrieved microphysical properties, such as cloud and drizzle particle size (rcandrm,d), their number concentration (NcandNd) and liquid water content (LWCcandLWCd), have been validated by aircraft in situ measurements during ACE‐ENA (~158 hr of aircraft data). The mean surface retrieved (in situ measured)rc,Nc, andLWCcare 10.9 μm (11.8 μm), 70 cm−3(60 cm−3), and 0.21 g m−3(0.22 g m−3), respectively. For drizzle microphysical properties, the retrieved (in situ measured)rd,Nd, andLWCdare 44.9 μm (45.1 μm), 0.07 cm−3(0.08 cm−3), and 0.052 g m−3(0.066 g m−3), respectively. Treating the aircraft in situ measurements as truth, the estimated median retrieval errors are ~15% forrc, ~35% forNc, ~30% forLWCcandrd, and ~50% forNdandLWCd. The findings from this study will provide insightful information for improving our understanding of warm rain processes, as well as for improving model simulations. More studies are required over other climatic regions.

more » « less
Award ID(s):
Author(s) / Creator(s):
 ;  ;  ;  ;  
Publisher / Repository:
DOI PREFIX: 10.1029
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Abstract

    This study compares macrophysical and microphysical properties of single‐layered, liquid‐dominant MBL clouds from the Measurements of Aerosols, Radiation, and Clouds over the Southern Ocean (MARCUS) (above 60°S) and the ARM East North Atlantic (ENA) site during the Aerosol and Cloud Experiments in Eastern North Atlantic (ACE‐ENA) field campaign. A total of 1,136 (16.5% of clouds) and 6,034 5‐min cloud samples are selected from MARCUS and ARM ENA in this study. MARCUS clouds have higher cloud‐top heights, thicker cloud layers, larger liquid water path, and colder cloud temperatures than ENA. Thinner, warmer MBL clouds at ENA can contain higher layer‐mean liquid water content due to higher cloud and ocean surface temperatures along with greater precipitable water vapor (PWV). MARCUS has a higher drizzle frequency rate (71.8%) than ENA (45.1%). Retrieved cloud and drizzle microphysical properties from each field campaign show key differences. MARCUS clouds feature smaller cloud droplets, whereas ENA clouds have larger cloud droplets, especially at the upper region of the cloud. From cloud top to cloud base, drizzle drop sizes increase while number concentrations decrease. Drizzle drop radius and number concentration decrease from cloud base to drizzle base due to net evaporation, and MARCUS' lower specific humidity leads to a higher drizzle base than ENA. The broader surface pressure and lower tropospheric stability (LTS) distributions during MARCUS have demonstrated that there are different synoptic patterns for selected cases during MARCUS with less PWV, while ENA is dominated by high pressure systems with nearly doubled PWV.

    more » « less
  2. null (Ed.)
    Abstract In this study, more than 4 years of ground-based observations and retrievals were collected and analyzed to investigate the seasonal and diurnal variations of single-layered MBL (with three subsets: nondrizzling, virga, and rain) cloud and drizzle properties, as well as their vertical and horizontal variations. The annual mean drizzle frequency was ~55%, with ~70% in winter and ~45% in summer. The cloud-top (cloud-base) height for rain clouds was the highest (lowest), resulting in the deepest cloud layer, i.e., 0.8 km, which is 4 (2) times that of nondrizzling (virga) clouds. The retrieved cloud-droplet effective radii r c were the largest (smallest) for rain (nondrizzling) clouds, and the nighttime values were greater than the daytime values. Drizzle number concentration N d and liquid water content LWC d were three orders and one order lower, respectively, than their cloud counterparts. The r c and LWC c increased from the cloud base to z i ≈ 0.75 by condensational growth, while drizzle median radii r d increased from the cloud top downward the cloud base by collision–coalescence. The adiabaticity values monotonically increased from the cloud top to the cloud base with maxima of ~0.7 (0.3) for nondrizzling (rain) clouds. The drizzling process decreases the adiabaticity by 0.25 to 0.4, and the cloud-top entrainment mixing impacts as deep as upper 40% of the cloud layers. Cloud and drizzle homogeneities decreased with increased horizontal sampling lengths. Cloud homogeneity increases with increasing cloud fraction. These results can serve as baselines for studying MBL cloud-to-rain conversion and growth processes over the Azores. 
    more » « less
  3. Abstract

    Comparisons of high‐resolution extended range CCN spectra measured at 100 m altitude with cloud and drizzle microphysics in the Rain in Cumulus over the Ocean (RICO) aircraft field project are presented. CCN concentrations,NCCN, active at supersaturations,S, >0.1% showed positive relationships with cloud droplet concentrations,Nc, measured at intermediate (606–976 m) and very high altitudes (1,763–3,699 m). These correlation coefficients,R, progressively increased withSwhile the two‐tailed probabilities, P2, progressively decreased with S to < 10−6at 1.6%S. More important were the positive relationships betweenNCCNactive atS < 0.1% and drizzle drop concentrations,Nd, at high (977–1,662 m), very high and high‐very high altitudes combined (977–3,699 m). All of these relationships were consistent for eight different cloud liquid water content,Lc, thresholds (forNc) andLcbins (forNd) ranging from 0.0002 to 0.3 g/m3. Negative relationships between CCN modality and low altitude (76–475 m) cloudiness coupled with no relationship ofNCCNactive at any S withNcof these low clouds indicated a cloud effect on ambient aerosol. This is a demonstration of clouds causing bimodal aerosol.

    more » « less
  4. Abstract

    The bulk microphysical properties and number distribution functions (N(D)) of supercooled liquid water (SLW) and ice inside and between ubiquitous generating cells (GCs) observed over the Southern Ocean (SO) during the Southern Ocean Clouds Radiation Aerosol Transport Experimental Study (SOCRATES) measured by in situ cloud probes onboard the NCAR/NSF G‐V aircraft are compared. SLW was detected inside all GCs with an average liquid water content of 0.31 ± 0.19 g m−3, 11% larger than values between GCs. TheN(D)of droplets (maximum dimensionD < 50 μm) inside and between GCs had only slight differences. For ice particles, on the other hand, the mean concentration (median mass diameter) withD > 200 μm inside GCs was 2.0 ± 3.3 L−1(323 ± 263 μm), 65% (37%) larger than values outside GCs. AsDincreases, the percentage differences became larger (up to ~500%). The more and larger ice particles inside GCs suggest the GC updrafts provide a favorable environment for particle growth by deposition and riming and that mixing processes are less efficient at redistributing larger particles. The horizontal scale of observed GCs ranged from 200 to 600 m with a mean of 395 ± 162 m, smaller than GC widths observed in previous studies. This study expands knowledge of the microphysical properties and processes acting in GCs over a wider range of conditions than previously available.

    more » « less
  5. null (Ed.)
    Abstract. Vertical profiles of aerosols are inadequately observed and poorlyrepresented in climate models, contributing to the current large uncertaintyassociated with aerosol–cloud interactions. The US Department of Energy (DOE) Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) Aerosol and CloudExperiments in the Eastern North Atlantic (ACE-ENA) aircraft field campaignnear the Azores islands provided ample observations of verticaldistributions of aerosol and cloud properties. Here we utilize the in situaircraft measurements from the ACE-ENA and ground-based remote-sensing dataalong with an aerosol-aware Weather Research and Forecast (WRF) model tocharacterize the aerosols due to long-range transport over a remote regionand to assess their possible influence on marine-boundary-layer (MBL)clouds. The vertical profiles of aerosol and cloud properties measured viaaircraft during the ACE-ENA campaign provide detailed information revealingthe physical contact between transported aerosols and MBL clouds. TheEuropean Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (ECMWF-CAMS) aerosol reanalysis data can reproduce the key features of aerosolvertical profiles in the remote region. The cloud-resolving WRF sensitivityexperiments with distinctive aerosol profiles suggest that the transportedaerosols and MBL cloud interactions (ACIs) require not only aerosol plumes to get close to the marine-boundary-layer top but also large cloud topheight variations. Based on those criteria, the observations show that theoccurrence of ACIs involving the transport of aerosol over the eastern NorthAtlantic (ENA) is about 62 % in summer. For the case with noticeable long-range-transport aerosol effects on MBL clouds, the susceptibilities of dropleteffective radius and liquid water content are −0.11 and +0.14,respectively. When varying by a similar magnitude, aerosols originatingfrom the boundary layer exert larger microphysical influence on MBL cloudsthan those entrained from the free troposphere. 
    more » « less