Articles | Volume 7, issue 4
Research article
04 Apr 2014
Research article |  | 04 Apr 2014

Characteristics of cloud liquid water path from SEVIRI onboard the Meteosat Second Generation 2 satellite for several cloud types

A. Kniffka, M. Stengel, M. Lockhoff, R. Bennartz, and R. Hollmann

Abstract. In this study the temporal and spatial characteristics of the liquid water path (LWP) of low, middle and high level clouds are analysed using space-based observations from the Spinning Enhanced Visible and Infrared Imager (SEVIRI) instrument onboard the Meteosat Second Generation 2 (MSG 2) satellite. Both geophysical quantities are part of the CLAAS (CLoud property dAtAset using SEVIRI) data set and are generated by EUMETSAT's Satellite Application Facility on Climate Monitoring (CM SAF). In this article we focus on the statistical properties of LWP, retrieved during daylight conditions, associated with individual cloud types. We analysed the intrinsic variability of LWP, that is, the variability in only cloudy regions and the variations driven by cloud amount. The relative amplitude of the intrinsic diurnal cycle exceeded the cloud amount driven amplitude in our analysed cases. Our results reveal that each cloud type possesses a characteristic intrinsic LWP distribution. These frequency distributions are constant with time in the entire SEVIRI field of view, but vary for smaller regions like Central Europe. Generally the average LWP is higher over land than over sea; in the case of low clouds this amounts to 15–27% in 2009. The variance of the frequency distributions is enhanced as well. Also, the average diurnal cycle of LWP is related to cloud type with the most pronounced relative diurnal variations being detected for low and middle level clouds. Maps of the relative amplitude and the local time of maximum LWP show the variation throughout the SEVIRI field of view.