The characteristics of Arctic mixed-phase stratiform clouds and their relation to vertical air motions are examined using ground-based observations during the Mixed-Phase Arctic Cloud Experiment (MPACE) in Barrow, Alaska, during fall 2004. The cloud macrophysical, microphysical, and dynamical properties are derived from a suite of active and passive remote sensors. Low-level, single-layer, mixed-phase stratiform clouds are typically topped by a 400-700-m-deep liquid water layer from which ice crystals precipitate. These clouds are strongly dominated (85% by mass) by liquid water. On average, an in-cloud updraft of 0.4 ms-1 sustains the clouds, although cloud-scale circulations lead to a variability of up to ±2 ms-1 from the average. Dominant scales-of-variability in both vertical air motions and cloud microphysical properties retrieved by this analysis occur at 0.5-10-km wavelengths. In updrafts, both cloud liquid and ice mass grow, although the net liquid mass growth is usually largest. Between updrafts, nearly all ice falls out and/or sublimates while the cloud liquid diminishes but does not completely evaporate. The persistence of liquid water throughout these cloud cycles suggests that ice-forming nuclei, and thus ice crystal, concentrations must be limited and that water vapor is plentiful. These details are brought together within the context of a conceptual model relating cloud-scale dynamics and microphysics.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Atmospheric Science