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  Optically thin clouds in the trades

Mieslinger, T., Stevens, B., Kölling, T., Brath, M., Wirth, M., & Buehler, S. A. (2022). Optically thin clouds in the trades. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, 22, 6879-6898. doi:10.5194/acp-22-6879-2022.

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https://zenodo.org/record/5786028 (Supplementary material)
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Oliver Lemke, Lukas Kluft, John Mrziglod, Simon Pfreundschuh, Gerrit Holl, Richard Larsson, Takayoshi Yamada, Theresa Mieslinger, & Jakob Doerr. (2021). atmtools/typhon: Typhon Release 0.9.0 (v0.9.0). Zenodo. https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.5786028
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https://zenodo.org/record/4842675 (Supplementary material)
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Mieslinger, Theresa. (2021). Simplified Clear-Sky radiative transfer Model (SCSM) ('0.0'). Zenodo. https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.4842675
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 Creators:
Mieslinger, Theresa1, 2, 3, Author
Stevens, Bjorn3, Author                 
Kölling, Tobias4, Author           
Brath, Manfred, Author
Wirth, Martin, Author
Buehler, Stefan A.2, Author
Affiliations:
1IMPRS on Earth System Modelling, MPI for Meteorology, Max Planck Society, Bundesstraße 53, 20146 Hamburg, DE, ou_913547              
2Meteorologisches Institut, Universität Hamburg, ou_persistent22              
3Director’s Research Group AES, The Atmosphere in the Earth System, MPI for Meteorology, Max Planck Society, ou_913570              
4Tropical Cloud Observations, The Atmosphere in the Earth System, MPI for Meteorology, Max Planck Society, ou_3001853              

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 Abstract: We develop a new method to describe the total cloud cover including optically thin clouds in trade wind cumulus cloud fields. Climate models and large eddy simulations commonly underestimate the cloud cover, while estimates from observations largely disagree on the cloud cover in the trades. Currently, trade wind clouds significantly contribute to the uncertainty in climate sensitivity estimates derived from model perturbation studies. To simulate clouds well, especially how they change in a future climate, we have to know how cloudy it is.

In this study we develop a method to quantify the cloud cover from a cloud-free perspective. Using well-known radiative transfer relations we retrieve the cloud-free contribution in high-resolution satellite observations of trade cumulus cloud fields during EUREC4A. Knowing the cloud-free part, we can investigate the remaining cloud-related contributions consisting of areas detected by common cloud-masking algorithms and undetected areas related to optically thin clouds. We find that the cloud-mask cloud cover underestimates the total cloud cover by 33 %. Aircraft lidar measurements support our findings by showing a high abundance of optically thin clouds during EUREC4A. Mixing the undetected optically thin clouds into the cloud-free signal can cause an underestimation of the cloud radiative effect of up to −7.5 %. We further discuss possible artificial correlations in aerosol–cloud cover interaction studies that might arise from undetected optically thin low clouds. Our analysis suggests that the known underestimation of trade wind cloud cover and simultaneous overestimation of cloud brightness in models are even higher than assumed so far.

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Language(s): eng - English
 Dates: 2021-0520212022-05-302022-05-30
 Publication Status: Published in print
 Pages: -
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 Table of Contents: -
 Rev. Type: Peer
 Identifiers: DOI: 10.5194/acp-22-6879-2022
 Degree: -

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Title: Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics
  Abbreviation : ACP
Source Genre: Journal
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Publ. Info: Göttingen : Copernicus Publications
Pages: - Volume / Issue: 22 Sequence Number: - Start / End Page: 6879 - 6898 Identifier: ISSN: 1680-7316
CoNE: https://pure.mpg.de/cone/journals/resource/111030403014016