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Observation of the spectrally invariant properties of clouds in cloudy-to-clear transition zones during the MAGIC field campaign

Yang, W., Marshak, A., McBride, P. J., Chiu, J. C., Knyazikhin, Y., Schmidt, K. S., Flynn, C., Lewis, E. R. and Eloranta, E. W. (2016) Observation of the spectrally invariant properties of clouds in cloudy-to-clear transition zones during the MAGIC field campaign. Atmospheric Research, 182. pp. 294-301. ISSN 0169-8059

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1016/j.atmosres.2016.08.004


We use the spectrally invariant method to study the variability of cloud optical thickness τ and droplet effective radius reff in transition zones (between the cloudy and clear sky columns) observed from Solar Spectral Flux Radiometer (SSFR) and Shortwave Array Spectroradiometer-Zenith (SASZe) during the Marine ARM GPCI Investigation of Clouds (MAGIC) field campaign. The measurements from the SSFR and the SASZe are different, however inter-instrument differences of self-normalized measurements (divided by their own spectra at a fixed time) are small. The spectrally invariant method approximates the spectra in the cloud transition zone as a linear combination of definitely clear and cloudy spectra, where the coefficients, slope and intercept, character- ize the spectrally invariant properties of the transition zone. Simulation results from the SBDART (Santa Barbara DISORT Atmospheric Radiative Transfer) model demonstrate that (1) the slope of the visible band is positively correlated with the cloud optical thickness τ while the intercept of the near-infrared band has high negative cor- relation with the cloud drop effective radius reff even without the exact knowledge of τ; (2) the above relations hold for all Solar Zenith Angle (SZA) and for cloud-contaminated skies. In observations using redundant measure- ments from SSFR and SASZe, we find that during cloudy-to-clear transitions, (a) the slopes of the visible band de- crease, and (b) the intercepts of the near-infrared band remain almost constant near cloud edges. The findings in simulations and observations suggest that, while the optical thickness decreases during the cloudy-to-clear transition, the cloud drop effective radius does not change when cloud edges are approached. These results sup- port the hypothesis that inhomogeneous mixing dominates near cloud edges in the studied cases.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:66493

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