CloudSat adding new insight into tropical penetrating convection

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Abstract

[1] Collocated observations of cloud-top height and cloud-profiling information from CloudSat and cloud-top temperature from MODIS are analyzed to determine where convective cloud top occurs in relation to the cold point tropopause and to characterize the internal vertical structure of these deep convective clouds. Three types of penetrating convection identified as cold-low (CL), cold-high (CH), and warm-high (WH) are defined according to the cloud-top temperature and height in comparison to the cold point tropopause height and temperature: It is suggested that CL, CH and WH types correspond to, respectively, the incipient, mature and dissipating stage of the convective lifecycle. Multiple lines of evidence, including characteristics of CloudSat radar profiles, test against the undiluted ascent hypothesis, and examination of convective system size, all lend support to this interpretation.

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