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

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.

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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