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Mixed-phase clouds over the Southern Ocean as observed from satellite and surface based lidar and radar
  • Gerald Mace,
  • Alain Protat,
  • Sally Benson
Gerald Mace
University of Utah

Corresponding Author:jay.mace@utah.edu

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Alain Protat
Australian Bureau of Meteorology
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Sally Benson
University of Utah
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This study investigates the occurrence of mixed-phase clouds (MPC) over the Southern Ocean (SO) using space- and surface-based lidar and radar observations. The occurrence of supercooled clouds is dominated by geometrically thin (< 1km) layers that are rarely MPC. We diagnose layers that are geometrically thicker than 1 km to be MPC approximately 65%, and 4% of the time from below by surface remote sensors and from above by orbiting remote sensors, respectively. We examine the discrepancy in MPC as diagnosed from the below and above. From above, we find that MPC occurrence has a gradient associated with the Antarctic Polar Front near 55°S with the rare occurrence of satellite-derived MPC south of that latitude. In contrast, surface sensors find MPC in 33% of supercooled layers. We infer that space-based lidar cannot identify the occurrence of MPC except when secondary ice-forming processes operate in convection that is sufficiently strong to loft ice crystals to cloud tops. We conclude that the CALIPSO phase statistics of MPC have a severe low bias in MPC occurrence. Based on surface-based statistics, we present a parameterization of the frequency of MPC as a function of cloud top temperature that differs substantially from that used in recent climate model simulations.
27 Aug 2021Published in Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres volume 126 issue 16. 10.1029/2021JD034569