A Climatology of Tropical Mid-level Clouds

Laura Riihimaki Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
Sally McFarlane U.S. Department of Energy
Jennifer Comstock Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

Category: Cloud Properties

Working Group: Cloud Life Cycle

Tropical mid-level clouds are challenging to observe, but rich in possibilities for increasing our scientific understanding. The ARM TWP measurement sites are well suited for studying these clouds because of the frequency of mid-level clouds at these locations and the instrumentation available. Here we use a new merged lidar and radar data set to present a climatology of tropical mid-level clouds. This combined instrumentation allows a comprehensive picture of the frequency and macrophysical characteristics of mid-level clouds. Mid-level clouds fall in the mixed-phase region and have a complex relationship between mid-level cloud occurrence, the stable layers at the freezing/melting level, and convection. We examine the properties of clouds that are detected by both the radar and lidar and those that can only be detected by the lidar separately. These cloud types have different microphysical and macrophysical properties. Both cloud types show multiple peaks in cloud top and base height distributions. Preliminary results show that both cloud types are more predominant at night than during the day, though this varies by season.

This poster will be displayed at ASR Science Team Meeting.