Ice cloud microphysical trends observed by the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder

Abstract : We use the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) version 6 ice cloud property and thermodynamic phase retrievals to quantify variability and 14-year trends in ice cloud frequency, ice cloud top temperature (Tci), ice optical thickness (τi) and ice effective radius (rei). The trends in ice cloud properties are shown to be independent of trends in information content and χ2. Statistically significant decreases in ice frequency, τi, and ice water path (IWP) are found in the SH and NH extratropics, but trends are much smaller and statistically insignificant in the tropics. However, statistically significant increases in rei are found in all three latitude bands. Perturbation experiments consistent with estimates of AIRS radiometric stability fall significantly short of explaining the observed trends in ice properties, averaging kernels, and χ2 trends. Values of rei are larger at the tops of opaque clouds and exhibit strong dependence on surface wind speed, column water vapour (CWV) and surface temperature (Tsrc) with changes up to 10–12 μm. Transparent clouds exhibit a much smaller change in rei for CWV, while none is observed for Tsrc. Comparisons between DARDAR and AIRS suggest that rei is smallest for single-layer cirrus, larger for cirrus above weak convection, and largest for cirrus above strong convection at the same cloud top temperature. This behaviour is consistent with enhanced particle growth from radiative cooling above convection or large particle lofting from strong convection.
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Brian H. Kahn, Hanii Takahashi, Graeme L. Stephens, Qing Yue, Julien Delanoë, et al.. Ice cloud microphysical trends observed by the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, European Geosciences Union, 2018, 18 (14), pp.10715-10739. ⟨10.5194/acp-18-10715-2018⟩. ⟨insu-01756055⟩

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