The diurnal cycle of the clouds extending above the tropical tropopause observed by spaceborne lidar

Dauhut, Thibaut; Noel, Vincent; Dion, Iris-Amata

The presence of clouds above the tropopause over tropical convection centers has so far been documented by spaceborne instruments that are either sun-synchronous or insensitive to thin cloud layers. Here we document, for the first time through direct observation by spaceborne lidar, how the tropical cloud fraction evolves above the tropopause throughout the day. After confirming previous studies that found such clouds most frequently above convection centers, we show that stratospheric clouds and their vertical extent above the tropopause follow a diurnal rhythm linked to convective activity. The diurnal cycle of the stratospheric clouds displays two maxima: one in the early night (19:00–20:00 LT) and a later one (00:00–01:00 LT). Stratospheric clouds extend up to 0.5–1 km above the tropopause during nighttime, when they are the most frequent. The frequency and the vertical extent of stratospheric clouds is very limited during daytime, and when present they are found very close to the tropopause. Results are similar over the major convection centers (Africa, South America and the Warm Pool), with more clouds above land in DJF (December–January–February) and less above the ocean and in JJA (June–July–August).

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Dauhut, Thibaut / Noel, Vincent / Dion, Iris-Amata: The diurnal cycle of the clouds extending above the tropical tropopause observed by spaceborne lidar. 2020. Copernicus Publications.

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Rechteinhaber: Thibaut Dauhut et al.

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