Characteristics of CALIPSO and CloudSat Backscatter at the Top Center Layers of...

Platt, C. M. R., M. A. Vaughan, and R. T. Austin (2011), Characteristics of CALIPSO and CloudSat Backscatter at the Top Center Layers of Mesoscale Convective Systems and Relation to Cloud Microphysics, J. Appl. Meteor. Climat., 50, 368-378, doi:10.1175/2010JAMC2537.1.

Following the discovery of anomalously high values of lidar integrated attenuated backscatter near the top center layers of mesoscale convective systems (MCSs) observed by the NASA Lidar In-Space Technology Experiment (LITE), a search of Cloud Aerosol Lidar with Orthogonal Polarization (CALIOP) data on board the Cloud Aerosol Lidar and Infrared Pathfinder Satellite Observation (CALIPSO) platform revealed the same phenomena in a sample of eight MCSs investigated. The backscatter depolarization ratio also showed changes concurrent with the high integrated backscatter and either increased or decreased concurrently with the anomalous backscatter. Simultaneous CloudSat data in the A-Train formation showed a cloud-top altitude similar to that measured by CALIOP, indicating fairly large ice crystals were reaching cloud top. Based on previous work, the CALIOP and CloudSat returns were likely due to a mix of small ice droxtals or frozen drops extending in a continuous spectrum to large crystals composed of well-formed hexagonal columns, thick hexagonal plates, spheroids, and irregular particles. The CALIOP lidar would detect the whole spectrum whereas CloudSat would detect ice crystals greater than ;30 mm in effective radius; there were apparently enough of such crystals to allow CloudSat to detect a cloud-top height similar to that found by CALIOP. Using such a model, it was estimated that the measured backscatter phase function in the most active part of the cloud could be reconciled approximately with theoretical values of the various crystal habits. However, it was harder to reconcile the changes in depolarization ratio given the absence of values of this parameter for small droxtal crystals.

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