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Keywords:

  • satellite;
  • convection;
  • microphysics

[1] This study characterizes convective clouds that occurred during the Tropical Composition, Clouds and Climate Coupling Experiment as observed within GOES imagery. Overshooting deep convective cloud tops (OT) that penetrate through the tropical tropopause layer and into the stratosphere are of particular interest in this study. The results show that there were clear differences in the areal coverage of anvil cloud, deep convection, and OT activity over land and water and also throughout the diurnal cycle. The offshore waters of Panama, northwest Colombia, and El Salvador were the most active regions for OT-producing convection. A cloud object tracking system is used to monitor the duration and areal coverage of convective cloud complexes as well as the time evolution of their cloud-top microphysical properties. The mean lifetime for these complexes is 5 hours, with some existing for longer than 16 hours. Deep convection is found within the anvil cloud during 60% of the storm lifetime and covered 24% of the anvil cloud. The cloud-top height and optical depth at the storm core followed a reasonable pattern, with maximum values occurring 20% into the storm lifetime. The values in the surrounding anvil cloud peaked at a relative age of 20%–50% before decreasing as the convective cloud complex decayed. Ice particle diameter decreased with distance from the core but generally increased with storm age. These results, which characterize the average convective system during the experiment, should be valuable for formulating and validating convective cloud process models.