What is it about?

Different ice cloud models have been developed for light transfer calculations in weather and climate simulations as well as remote sensing. In this study, we use satellite cloud observations to test the sensitivity of in-cloud light transfer calculations to three different ice cloud models, one of which best matches the assumed ice particle mass-dimension relationship in modeling cloud microphysics.

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Why is it important?

In weather and climate simulations, cloud microphysics and light transfer are modeled by two different communities who rarely communicated with each other in the past. Consequently, the ice particle assumptions, such as mass-dimension relation, particle size distribution, and effective radius, in cloud microphysics and light transfer models are very different. This study introduces a light transfer ice cloud model that best matches the ice particle mass-dimension relation in cloud microphysics, moving a step toward physically consistent ice particle assumptions between cloud microphysics and light transfer communities.


It is interesting that cold-top (1) thin cirrus, (2) anvil-like clouds, and (3) deep convective cores in the tropical deep convective systems show distinct light reflectances and particle sizes. As a result, only with the so-called cloud optical thickness and effective radius available from passive sensor cloud retrievals, one can separate the 3 types of ice clouds.

Tong Ren
Texas A&M University System

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Sensitivity of radiative flux simulations to ice cloud parameterization over the equatorial western Pacific Ocean region, Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences, May 2021, American Meteorological Society, DOI: 10.1175/jas-d-21-0017.1.
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