Preliminary Results from Learjet Investigations of Cirrus Clouds During SPARTICUS

Paul Lawson SPEC, Inc.
Gerald Mace University of Utah
Jennifer Comstock Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
Eric Jensen NASA - Ames Research Center
Brad Baker SPEC, Inc.
Beat Schmid Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
Glenn Diskin NASA - Langley Research Center

Category: Cloud Properties

Working Group: Cloud Life Cycle

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SPEC Learjet and photos of microphysical sensors.

From a mass-weighted perspective, cirrus clouds exert an enormous influence on the radiative energy budget of the earth’s climate system. Owing to their location in the cold upper troposphere, cirrus can reduce significantly the outgoing longwave radiation while, at the same time, remain relatively transmissive to solar energy. Thus, cirrus clouds are the only cloud genre that can exert a direct radiative warming influence on the climate system. The Small Particles in Cirrus (SPARTICUS) field campaign is scheduled to take place from 4 January through 15 April 2010. The SPEC Learjet (see attached figures) has been instrumented with state-of-the-art microphysical sensors (see attached figures) and will collect data in cirrus clouds over the ARM Climate Research Facility site near Lamont, Oklahoma. The overarching scientific goal of SPARTICUS is to document the nature and variability of the particle size distribution in cirrus. Given the uncertainty in previous measurements, SPARTICUS aims to determine to what degree small particles (i.e., < 50 microns diameter) contribute to the mass and radiative properties of mid-latitude cirrus. Characterization of the contribution of small particles to the total number concentration is critical for developing and evaluating model parameterizations and improving algorithms to retrieve microphysical properties using remote sensors. SPARTICUS measurements will reshape our understanding of the bimodality of the ice crystal size distribution. Improving and evaluating cloud property retrieval algorithms is fundamental to utilizing the long-term time record of remote sensing observations at the ARM sites. Preliminary results from in situ microphysical measurements in cirrus will be presented, including fast FSSP, CDP, CPI, 2D-S, 2DP, and Nevzorov measurements of particle size, area, and mass distribution.

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This poster will be displayed at ASR Science Team Meeting.

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