Journal article

Bulk microphysical properties of semi-transparent cirrus from AIRS: A six year global climatology and statistical analysis in synergy with geometrical profiling data from CloudSat-CALIPSO

Guignard A, Stubenrauch C, Baran A, Armante R ...see all

Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, vol. 12, issue 1 (2012) pp. 503-525

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Abstract

This article presents a retrieval method and a statistical analysis
of the bulk microphysical properties of semi-transparent ice clouds
using the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS). The method relies
on spectral differences of cirrus emissivities in the 8–12 μm range
and is sensitive to the effective ice crystal diameter (De) and ice
water path (IWP) of up to 85 μm and 120 g m−2, respectively. An indication
of the most frequent ice crystal habit in the cirrus has been obtained
by using separately single scattering properties of column-like and
aggregate-like ice crystals in the simulations. Uncertainties due
to hypotheses on atmospheric parameters and ice crystal single scattering
properties are discussed and the cirrus emissivity and temperature
range for the applicability of the method are determined. To be sure
that the cirrus only includes ice crystals, one has to restrict the
cloud temperature range to Tcldice clouds (cirrus) represent about 25% of all high clouds and are
mainly encountered in the midlatitudes during winter and in the tropics,
with an average De and IWP of 52 μm and 27 g m−2, respectively. A
comparison with bulk microphysical properties from the TIROS-N Operational
Vertical Sounder (TOVS) shows an agreement on global mean values.
The addition of spectral information revealed improvements at the
limits of the cirrus emissivity range. Collocated Radar-Lidar Geometrical
Profiling (GEOPROF) data have been used to study the vertical structure
of these clouds and to infer average ice water content (IWC) for
cirrus with a small vertical extent. This allowed us to compare and
contrast parameterizations of De as functions of IWC and IWP, respectively.

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Authors

  • A. Guignard

  • C. J. Stubenrauch

  • A. J. Baran

  • R. Armante

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