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Occurrence, liquid water content, and fraction of supercooled water clouds from...

Hu, Y., S. Rodier, K. Xu, W. Sun, J. Huang, B. Lin, P. Zhai, and D. Josset (2010), Occurrence, liquid water content, and fraction of supercooled water clouds from combined CALIOP/IIR/MODIS measurements, J. Geophys. Res., 115, D00H34, doi:10.1029/2009JD012384.

The CALIOP depolarization measurements, combined with backscatter intensity measurements, are effective in discriminating between water clouds and ice clouds. The same depolarization measurements can also be used for estimating liquid water content information. Using cloud temperature information from the collocated infrared imaging radiometer measurements and cloud water paths from collocated MODIS measurements, this study compiles global statistics of the occurrence frequency, liquid water content, liquid water path, and their temperature dependence. For clouds with temperatures between −40°C and 0°C, the liquid phase fractions and liquid water paths are significantly higher than the ones from previous studies using passive remote sensing measurements. At midlatitudes, the occurrence of liquid phase clouds at temperatures between −40°C and 0°C depends jointly on both cloud height and cloud temperature. At high latitudes, more than 95% of low‐level clouds with temperatures between −40°C and 0°C are water clouds. Supercooled water clouds are mostly observed over ocean near the storm‐track regions and high‐latitude regions. Supercooled water clouds over land are observed in the Northern Hemisphere over Europe, East Asia, and North America, and these are the supercooled water clouds with highest liquid water contents. The liquid water content of all supercooled water clouds is characterized by a Gamma (G) distribution. The mode values of liquid water content are around 0.06 g/m3 and are independent of cloud temperature. For temperatures warmer than −15°C, mean value of the liquid water content is around 0.14 g/m3. As the temperature decreases, the mean cloud liquid water content also decreases. These results will benefit cloud models and cloud parameterizations used in climate models in improving their ice‐phase microphysics parameterizations and the aviation hazard forecast.

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Radiation Science Program (RSP)