Diurnal variation of high-level clouds from the synergy of AIRS and IASI space-borne infrared sounders

Feofilov, Artem G.; Stubenrauch, Claudia J.

By covering about 30 % of the Earth and by exerting a strong greenhouse effect, high-level clouds play an important role in the energy balance of our planet. Their warming and cooling effects within the atmosphere strongly depend on their emissivity. The combination of cloud data from two space-borne infrared sounders, the Atmospheric InfraRed Sounder, AIRS, and the Infrared Atmospheric Sounding Interferometer, IASI, which observe the Earth four times per day, allows us to investigate the diurnal variation of these high-level clouds by distinguishing between high opaque, cirrus, and thin cirrus clouds. We demonstrate that the diurnal phase and amplitude of high-level clouds can be estimated from these measurements with an uncertainty of 1.5 h and 20 %, respectively. By applying the developed methodology to AIRS and IASI cloud observations for the period of 2008–2015, we obtained monthly geographical distributions of diurnal phase and amplitude at a spatial resolution of 1inline-formula latitude inline-formula×1inline-formula longitude. In agreement with other studies, the diurnal cycle of high-level clouds is the largest over land in the tropics. At higher latitudes, their diurnal cycle is the largest during the summer. For selected continental regions we found diurnal amplitudes of cloud amount of about 7 % for high opaque clouds and for thin cirrus, and 9 % for cirrus. Over ocean, these values are 2 to 3 times smaller. The diurnal cycle of tropical thin cirrus seems to be similar over land and over ocean, with a minimum in the morning (09:00 LT) and a maximum during the night (01:00 LT). Tropical high opaque clouds have a maximum in the evening (21:00 LT over land), a few hours after the peak of convective rain. This lag can be explained by the fact that this cloud type includes not only the convective cores, but also part of the thicker anvils. Tropical cirrus show maximum coverage during the night (01:00 LT over land). This lag indicates that they are part of the deep convective cloud systems. However, the peak local times also vary regionally. We are providing a global monthly database of detected diurnal cycle amplitude and phase for each of these three high-level cloud types.

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Zitierform:

Feofilov, Artem G. / Stubenrauch, Claudia J.: Diurnal variation of high-level clouds from the synergy of AIRS and IASI space-borne infrared sounders. 2019. Copernicus Publications.

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Rechteinhaber: Artem G. Feofilov

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