Cloud properties and radiative effects of the Asian summer monsoon derived from...

Berry, E., and J. Mace (2014), Cloud properties and radiative effects of the Asian summer monsoon derived from A-Train data, J. Geophys. Res., 119, 9492-9508, doi:10.1002/2014JD021458.

Using A-Train satellite data, we investigate the distribution of clouds and their microphysical and radiative properties in Southeast Asia during the summer monsoon. We find an approximate balance in the top of the atmosphere (TOA) cloud radiative effect, which is largely due to commonly occurring cirrus layers that warm the atmosphere, and less frequent deep layers, which produce a strong cooling at the surface. The distribution of ice water path (IWP) in these layers, obtained from the 2C-ICE CloudSat data product, is highly skewed with a mean value of 440 g m-2 and a median of 24 g m-2. We evaluate the fraction of the total IWP observed by CloudSat and CALIPSO individually and find that both instruments are necessary for describing the overall IWP statistics and particularly the values that are most important to cirrus radiative impact. In examining how cloud radiative effects at the TOA vary as a function of IWP, we find that cirrus with IWP less than 200 g m-2 produce a net warming in the study region. Weighting the distribution of radiative effect by the frequency of occurrence of IWP values, we determine that cirrus with IWP around 20 g m-2 contribute most to heating at the TOA. We conclude that the mean IWP is a poor diagnostic of radiative impact. We suggest that climate model intercomparisons with data should focus on the median IWP because that statistic is more descriptive of the cirrus that contribute most to the radiative impacts of tropical ice clouds.

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