Publication Abstracts

Luo and Rossow 2004

Luo, Z., and W.B. Rossow, 2004: Characterizing tropical cirrus life cycle, evolution, and interaction with upper-tropospheric water vapor using Lagrangian trajectory analysis of satellite observations. J. Climate, 17, 4541-4563, doi:10.1175/3222.1.

Tropical cirrus evolution and its relation to upper-tropospheric water vapor (UTWV) are examined in the paper by analyzing satellite-derived cloud data, UTWV data from infrared and microwave measurements, and the NCEP-NCAR reanalysis wind field. Building upon the existing International Satellite Cloud Climatology Project (ISCCP) data and the Television and Infrared Observation Satellite (TIROS) Operational Vertical Sounder (TOVS) product, a global (except polar region), 6-hourly cirrus dataset is developed from two infrared radiance measurements at 11 and 12 µm. The UTWV is obtained in both clear and cloudy locations by developing a combined satellite infrared and microwave-based retrieval. The analysis in this study is conducted in a Lagrangian framework. The Lagrangian trajectory analysis shows that the decay of deep convection is immediately followed by the growth of cirrostratus and cirrus, and then the decay of cirrostratus is followed by the continued growth of cirrus. Cirrus properties continuously evolve along the trajectories as they gradually thin out and move to the lower levels. Typical tropical cirrus systems last for 19-30 ± 16 h. This is much longer than cirrus particle lifetimes, suggesting that other processes (e.g., large-scale lifting) replenish the particles to maintain tropical cirrus. Consequently, tropical cirrus can advect over large distances, about 600-1000 km, during their lifetimes. For almost all current GCMs, this distance spans more than one grid box, requiring that the water vapor and cloud water budgets include an advection term. Based on their relationship to convective systems, detrainment cirrus are distinguished from in situ cirrus. It is found that more than half of the tropical cirrus are formed in situ well away from convection. The interaction between cirrus and UTWV is explored by comparing the evolution of the UTWV along composite clear trajectories and trajectories with cirrus. Cirrus are found to be associated with a moister upper troposphere and a slower rate of decrease of UTWV. Moreover, the elevated UTWV has a longer duration than cirrus. The amount of water in cirrus is too small for evaporation of cirrus ice particles to moisten the upper troposphere significantly (but cirrus may be an important water vapor sink). Rather, it is likely that the same transient motions that produce the cirrus also transport water vapor upward to maintain a larger UTWV.

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BibTeX Citation

@article{lu04000r,
  author={Luo, Z. and Rossow, W. B.},
  title={Characterizing tropical cirrus life cycle, evolution, and interaction with upper-tropospheric water vapor using Lagrangian trajectory analysis of satellite observations},
  year={2004},
  journal={J. Climate},
  volume={17},
  pages={4541--4563},
  doi={10.1175/3222.1},
}

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RIS Citation

TY  - JOUR
ID  - lu04000r
AU  - Luo, Z.
AU  - Rossow, W. B.
PY  - 2004
TI  - Characterizing tropical cirrus life cycle, evolution, and interaction with upper-tropospheric water vapor using Lagrangian trajectory analysis of satellite observations
JA  - J. Climate
VL  - 17
SP  - 4541
EP  - 4563
DO  - 10.1175/3222.1
ER  -

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