Peter Kuma Software and Science

An analysis of the cloud environment over the Ross Sea and Ross Ice Shelf using CloudSat/CALIPSO satellite observations: The importance of synoptic forcing

Ben Jolly1, Peter Kuma2, Adrian McDonald2, Simon Parsons2

1Landcare Research, Lincoln, New Zealand
2Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand

Abstract

We use the 2B-GEOPROF-LIDAR R04 (2BGL4) and R05 (2BGL5) products and the 2B-CLDCLASS-LIDAR R04 (2BCL4) product, all generated by combining CloudSat radar and CALIPSO lidar satellite measurements with auxiliary data, to examine the vertical distribution of cloud occurrence around the Ross Ice Shelf (RIS) and Ross Sea region. We find that the 2BGL4 product, used in previous studies in this region, displays a discontinuity at 8.2 km which is not observable in the other products. This artefact appears to correspond to a change in the horizontal and vertical resolution of the CALIPSO dataset used above this level. We then use the 2BCL4 product to examine the vertical distribution of cloud occurrence, phase, and type over the RIS and Ross Sea. In particular we examine how synoptic conditions in the region, derived using a previously developed synoptic classification, impact the cloud environment and the contrasting response in the two regions. We observe large differences between the cloud occurrence as a function of altitude for synoptic regimes relative to those for seasonal variations. A stronger variation in the occurrence of clear skies and multi-layer cloud and in all cloud type occurrences over both the Ross Sea and RIS is associated more with synoptic type than seasonal composites. In addition, anomalies from the mean joint histogram of cloud top height against thickness display significant differences over the Ross Sea and RIS sectors as a function of synoptic regime, but are near identical over these two regions when a seasonal analysis is completed. However, the frequency of particular phases of cloud, notably mixed phase and water, is much more strongly modulated by seasonal than synoptic regime compositing, which suggests that temperature is still the most important control on cloud phase in the region.
Journal:
Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics
Volume:
18
Issue:
13
Pages:
9723–9739
DOI:
10.5194/acp-18-9723-2018
Submitted:
13 June 2017
Accepted:
01 May 2018
Published:
10 July 2018
PDF:
PDF document
BibTeX: @article{jolly2018,
  journal={Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics},
  year={2018},
  volume={18},
  issue={13},
  pages={9723-9739},
  doi={10.5194/acp-18-9723-2018},
  url={https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-18-9723-2018},
  author={Jolly, Ben and Kuma, Peter and McDonald, Adrian and Parsons, Simon},
  title={An analysis of the cloud environment over the Ross Sea and Ross Ice Shelf using CloudSat/CALIPSO satellite observations: The importance of synoptic forcing}
}