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Atmospheric Measurement Techniques An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-2020-394
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-2020-394
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  26 Oct 2020

26 Oct 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal AMT.

Observation of Cirrus Clouds with GLORIA during the WISE Campaign: Detection Methods and Cirrus Characterization

Irene Bartolome Garcia1, Reinhold Spang1, Jörn Ungermann1, Sabine Griessbach2, Martina Krämer1, Michael Höpfner3, and Martin Riese1 Irene Bartolome Garcia et al.
  • 1Institute für Energie and Klimaforschung (IEK-7), Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH, 52428 Jülich, Germany
  • 2Jülich Supercomputing Centre (JSC), Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH, 52428 Jülich, Germany
  • 3Institute of Meteorology and Climate Research, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, 76021 Karlsruhe, Germany

Abstract. Cirrus clouds contribute to the general radiation budget of the Earth, playing an important role in climate projections. Of special interest are optically thin cirrus clouds close to the tropopause due to the fact that their impact is not yet well understood. Measuring these clouds is challenging as both high spatial resolution as well as a very high detection sensitivity are needed. These criteria are fulfilled by the infrared limb sounder GLORIA (Gimballed Limb Observer for Radiance Imaging of the Atmosphere). This study presents a characterization of observed cirrus clouds using the data obtained by GLORIA aboard the German research aircraft HALO during the WISE (Wave-driven ISentropic Exchange) campaign in September/October 2017. We developed an optimized cloud detection method and derived macro-physical characteristics of the detected cirrus clouds such as cloud top height, cloud top bottom height, vertical extent and cloud top position with respect to the tropopause. The fraction of cirrus clouds detected above the tropopause is in the order of 13 % to 27 %. In general, good agreement with the clouds predicted by the ERA5 reanalysis data-set is obtained. However, cloud occurrence is ≈ 50 % higher in the observations for the region close to and above the tropopause. Cloud bottom heights are also detected above the tropopause. However, considering the uncertainties, we cannot confirm the formation of unattached cirrus layers above the tropopause.

Irene Bartolome Garcia et al.

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Irene Bartolome Garcia et al.

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Short summary
Cirrus clouds contribute to the general radiation budget of the Earth. Measuring optically thin clouds is challenging but the IR limb sounder GLORIA possess the necessary technical characteristics to make it possible. This study analyses data from the WISE campaign obtained with GLORIA. We developed a cloud detection method and derived characteristics of the observed cirrus like cloud top, cloud bottom or position with respect to the tropopause.
Cirrus clouds contribute to the general radiation budget of the Earth. Measuring optically thin...
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