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Journal Article

Low-latitude boundary layer clouds as seen by CALIPSO


Nuijens,  Louise
Observations and Process Studies, The Atmosphere in the Earth System, MPI for Meteorology, Max Planck Society;


Stevens,  Bjorn       
Director’s Research Group AES, The Atmosphere in the Earth System, MPI for Meteorology, Max Planck Society;

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Medeiros, B., Nuijens, L., Antoniazzi, C., & Stevens, B. (2010). Low-latitude boundary layer clouds as seen by CALIPSO. Journal of Geophysical Research - Atmospheres, 115: D23207. doi:10.1029/2010JD014437.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0011-F5A1-3
The distribution of low-level cloud in the tropical belt is investigated using 6 months of Level 2 retrievals from Cloud-Aerosol Lidar and Infrared Pathfinder Satellite Observation (CALIPSO) at 333 m and 1 km horizontal resolutions. Regional patterns of tropical clouds emerge from the data, matching expectations from existing observations. The advantage of the lidar is highlighted by the distribution of cloud-top height, revealing the preponderance of low-level clouds over the tropical oceans. Over land, cloud top is more uniformly distributed under the influence of diurnal variation. The integrated cloud-top distribution suggests tropical, marine low-cloud amount around 25-30%; a merged CALIPSO-CloudSat product has a similar cloud-top distribution and includes a complementary estimate of cloud fraction based on the lidar detections. The low-cloud distribution is similar to that found in fields of shallow cumulus observed during the Rain in Cumulus Over the Ocean (RICO) field study. The similarity is enhanced by sampling near the RICO site or sampling large-scale conditions similar to those during RICO. This finding shows how satellite observations can help to generalize findings from detailed field observations.