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Title: Impact of large-scale dynamics on the microphysical properties of midlatitude cirrus

In situ microphysical observations 3 of mid-latitude cirrus collected during the Department of Energy Small Particles in Cirrus (SPAR-TICUS) field campaign are combined with an atmospheric state classification for the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) Southern Great Plains (SGP) site to understand statistical relationships between cirrus microphysics and the large-scale meteorology. The atmospheric state classification is informed about the large-scale meteorology and state of cloudiness at the ARM SGP site by combining ECMWF ERA-Interim reanalysis data with 14 years of continuous observations from the millimeter-wavelength cloud radar. Almost half of the cirrus cloud occurrences in the vicinity of the ARM SGP site during SPARTICUS can be explained by three distinct synoptic condi- tions, namely upper-level ridges, mid-latitude cyclones with frontal systems and subtropical flows. Probability density functions (PDFs) of cirrus micro- physical properties such as particle size distributions (PSDs), ice number con- centrations and ice water content (IWC) are examined and exhibit striking differences among the different synoptic regimes. Generally, narrower PSDs with lower IWC but higher ice number concentrations are found in cirrus sam- pled in upper-level ridges whereas cirrus sampled in subtropical flows, fronts and aged anvils show broader PSDs with considerably lower ice number con- centrations but highermore » IWC. Despite striking contrasts in the cirrus micro- physics for different large-scale environments, the PDFs of vertical velocity are not different, suggesting that vertical velocity PDFs are a poor predic-tor for explaining the microphysical variability in cirrus. Instead, cirrus mi- crophysical contrasts may be driven by differences in ice supersaturations or aerosols.« less
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Journal Article
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Journal Name: Journal of Geophysical Research. D. (Atmospheres), 119(7):3976-3996
Research Org:
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), Richland, WA (US)
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Country of Publication:
United States