CloudSat observations of cloud-type distribution over the Indian summer monsoon region
The three-dimensional distribution of various cloud types over the Indian summer monsoon (ISM) region using five years (2006–2010) of CloudSat observations during June-July-August-September months is discussed for the first time. As the radiative properties, latent heat released and microphysical properties of clouds differ largely depending on the cloud type, it becomes important to know what types of clouds occur over which region. In this regard, the present analysis establishes the three-dimensional distribution of frequency of occurrence of stratus (St), stratocumulus (Sc), nimbostratus (Ns), cumulus (Cu), altocumulus (Ac), altostratus (As), cirrus (Ci) and deep convective (DC) clouds over the ISM region. The results show that the various cloud types preferentially occur over some regions of the ISM, which are consistent during all the years of observations. It is found that the DC clouds frequently occur over northeast of Bay of Bengal (BoB), Ci clouds over a wide region of south BoB–Indian peninsula–equatorial Indian Ocean, and Sc clouds over the north Arabian Sea. Ac clouds preferentially occur over land, and a large amount of As clouds are found over BoB. The occurrence of both St and Ns clouds over the study region is much lower than all other cloud types.The interannual variability of all these clouds including their vertical distribution is discussed. It is envisaged that the present study opens up possibilities to quantify the feedback of individual cloud type in the maintenance of the ISM through radiative forcing and latent heat release.