Radiative effects of upper tropospheric clouds observed by Aura MLS and CloudSat

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Su, H., J. H. Jiang, G. L. Stephens, D. G. Vane, and N. Livesey (2009), Radiative effects of upper tropospheric clouds observed by Aura MLS and CloudSat, Geophys. Res. Lett., 36, L09815, doi:10.1029/2009GL037173.
Abstract: 

The radiative effects of upper tropospheric (UT) clouds observed by CloudSat and Aura MLS during June-JulyAugust 2008 are examined and contrasted. We find that the UT cloud occurrence frequency observed by MLS is more than CloudSat by 4 – 10% in the tropical average and by 40~60% near the tropopause in the deep convective regions. The clouds detected by MLS but missed by CloudSat (denoted as TCC) typically have visible optical thickness less than 0.2. TCC produce a tropical-mean net warming of 3.5 W/m2 at the top-of-atmosphere and net cooling of 1.2 W/m2 at the surface. They induce a net radiative heating in the UT. Their heating rate at 200 hPa is ~0.35 K/day in the tropical-mean and ~0.8 K/day over South Asia, which is about 3 – 4 times the clear-sky radiative heating rate. Hence, they are potentially important in affecting the mass transport rates from the troposphere to the stratosphere.

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Mission: 
CloudSat