Vertical structure of ice cloud layers from CloudSat and CALIPSO measurements and comparison to NICAM simulations

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Abstract

[1] The shape of the vertical profile of ice cloud layers is examined using 4 months of CloudSat and Cloud-Aerosol Lidar and Infrared Pathfinder Satellite Observation (CALIPSO) global measurements taken on January, April, July, and October 2007. Ice clouds are selected using temperature profiles when the cloud base is located above the 253 K temperature level. The obtained ice water content (IWC), effective radius, or extinction coefficient profiles are normalized by their layer mean values and are expressed in the normalized vertical coordinate, which is defined as 0 and 1 at the cloud base and top heights, respectively. Both CloudSat and CALIPSO observations show that the maximum in the IWC and extinction profiles shifts toward the cloud bottom, as the cloud depth increases. In addition, clouds with a base reaching the surface in a high-latitude region show that the maximum peak of the IWC and extinction profiles occurs near the surface, which is presumably due to snow precipitation. CloudSat measurements show that the seasonal difference in normalized cloud vertical profiles is not significant, whereas the normalized cloud vertical profile significantly varies depending on the cloud type and the presence of precipitation. It is further examined if the 7 day Nonhydrostatic Icosahedral Atmospheric Model (NICAM) simulation results from 25 December 2006 to 1 January 2007 generate similar cloud profile shapes. NICAM IWC profiles also show maximum peaks near the cloud bottom for thick cloud layers and maximum peaks at the cloud bottom for low-level clouds near the surface. It is inferred that oversized snow particles in the NICAM cloud scheme produce a more vertically inhomogeneous IWC profile than observations due to quick sedimentation.

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