Characterizing the Occurrence and Spatial Heterogeneity of Liquid, Ice, and Mixed Phase Low-Level Clouds Over the Southern Ocean Using in Situ Observations Acquired During SOCRATES

John J. D'Alessandro, Greg Michael McFarquhar, Wei Wu, Jeff L. Stith, Jorgen B. Jensen, Robert M. Rauber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Supercooled liquid water (SLW) and mixed phase clouds containing SLW and ice over the Southern Ocean (SO) are poorly represented in global climate and numerical weather prediction models. Observed SLW exists at lower temperatures than threshold values used to characterize its detrainment from convection in model parameterizations, and processes controlling its formation and removal are poorly understood. High-resolution observations are needed to better characterize SLW over the SO. This study characterizes the frequency and spatial distribution of different cloud phases (liquid, ice, and mixed) using in situ observations acquired during the Southern Ocean Clouds, Radiation, Aerosol Transport Experiment Study. Cloud particle phase is identified using multiple cloud probes. Results show occurrence frequencies of liquid phase samples up to 70% between −20°C and 0°C and of ice phase samples up to 10% between −5°C and 0°C. Cloud phase spatial heterogeneity is determined by relating the total number of 1 s samples from a given cloud to the number of segments whose neighboring samples are the same phase. Mixed phase conditions are the most spatially heterogeneous from −20°C to 0°C, whereas liquid phase conditions from −10°C to 0°C and ice phase conditions from −20°C to −10°C are the least spatially heterogeneous. Greater spatial heterogeneity is associated with broader distributions of vertical velocity. Decreasing droplet concentrations and increasing number-weighted mean liquid diameters occur within mixed phase clouds as the liquid water fraction decreases, possibly suggesting preferential evaporation of smaller drops during the Wegener-Bergeron-Findeisen process.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2020JD034482
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres
Volume126
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 16 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science
  • Geophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science

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