loading page

Stratocumulus Precipitation Properties over the Southern Ocean Observed from Aircraft during the SOCRATES campaign
  • Litai Kang,
  • Roger T Marchand,
  • Robert Wood
Litai Kang
Department of Atmospheric Sciences, University of Washington

Corresponding Author:kanglt@uw.edu

Author Profile
Roger T Marchand
University of Washington
Author Profile
Robert Wood
University of Washington
Author Profile


Precipitation plays an important role in various processes over the Southern Ocean (SO), ranging from the hydrological cycle to cloud and aerosol processes. The main objective of this study is to characterize SO precipitation properties. We use data from the Southern Ocean Clouds Radiation Aerosol Transport Experimental Study (SOCRATES), and leverage observations from airborne radar, lidar, and in situ probes. For the cold-topped clouds (cloud-top-temperature < 0°C), the phase of precipitation with reflectivity > 0 dBZ is predominately ice, while reflectivity < -10 dBZ is predominately liquid. Liquid-phase precipitation properties are retrieved where radar and lidar are zenith-pointing. The power-law relationships between reflectivity (Z) and rain rate (R) are developed, and the derived Z-R relationships show vertical dependence and sensitivity to the intermediate drops (diameters between 10-40 μm). Using derived Z-R relationships, reflectivity-velocity (ZV) retrieval method, and a radar-lidar retrieval method, we derive rain rate and other precipitation properties. The retrieved rain rate from all three methods shows good agreement with in-situ aircraft estimates. Rain rate features the prevalence of light precipitation (<0.1 mm hr-1). We examine the vertical distribution of precipitation properties, and found that rain rate, precipitation number concentration, precipitation liquid water all decreases as one gets closer to the surface, while precipitation size and width increases. We also examine how cloud base rain rate (RCB) depends on cloud depth (H) and aerosol concentration (Na) for particles with diameter greater than 70nm, and we find a linear relationship between RCB and H3.6Na-1.
24 Aug 2023Submitted to ESS Open Archive
24 Aug 2023Published in ESS Open Archive