Antarctic clouds, supercooled liquid water and mixed phase, investigated with DARDAR: geographical and seasonal variations

Listowski, Constantino; Delanoë, Julien; Kirchgaessner, Amélie; Lachlan-Cope, Tom; King, John

Antarctic tropospheric clouds are investigated using the DARDAR (raDAR/liDAR)-MASK products between 60 and 82inline-formula S. The cloud fraction (occurrence frequency) is divided into the supercooled liquid-water-containing cloud (SLC) fraction and its complementary part called the all-ice cloud fraction. A further distinction is made between SLC involving ice (mixed-phase clouds, MPC) or not (USLC, for unglaciated SLC). The low-level (inline-formula<3 km above surface level) SLC fraction is larger over seas (20 %–60 %), where it varies according to sea ice fraction, than over continental regions (0 %–35 %). The total SLC fraction is much larger over West Antarctica (10 %–40 %) than it is over the Antarctic Plateau (0 %–10 %). In East Antarctica the total SLC fraction – in summer for instance – decreases sharply polewards with increasing surface height (decreasing temperatures) from inline-formula40 % at the coast to inline-formula<5% at 82inline-formula S on the plateau. The geographical distribution of the continental total all-ice fraction is shaped by the interaction of the main low-pressure systems surrounding the continent and the orography, with little association with the sea ice fraction. Opportunistic comparisons with published ground-based supercooled liquid-water observations at the South Pole in 2009 are made with our SLC fractions at 82inline-formula S in terms of seasonal variability, showing good agreement. We demonstrate that the largest impact of sea ice on the low-level SLC fraction (and mostly through the MPC) occurs in autumn and winter (22 % and 18 % absolute decrease in the fraction between open water and sea ice-covered regions, respectively), while it is almost null in summer and intermediate in spring (11 %). Monthly variability of the MPC fraction over seas shows a maximum at the end of summer and a minimum in winter. Conversely, the USLC fraction has a maximum at the beginning of summer. However, monthly evolutions of MPC and USLC fractions do not differ on the continent. This suggests a seasonality in the glaciation process in marine liquid-bearing clouds. From the literature, we identify the pattern of the monthly evolution of the MPC fraction as being similar to that of the aerosols in coastal regions, which is related to marine biological activity. Marine bioaerosols are known to be efficient ice-nucleating particles (INPs). The emission of these INPs into the atmosphere from open waters would add to the temperature and sea ice fraction seasonalities as factors explaining the MPC fraction monthly evolution.



Listowski, Constantino / Delanoë, Julien / Kirchgaessner, Amélie / et al: Antarctic clouds, supercooled liquid water and mixed phase, investigated with DARDAR: geographical and seasonal variations. 2019. Copernicus Publications.


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