S209 Distribution and Characteristics of Deep Convective Clouds using CloudSat and CALIPSO

Sunday, 6 January 2019
Hall 4 (Phoenix Convention Center - West and North Buildings)
Samantha Nebylitsa, SUNY, Stony Brook, NY; and A. D. Rapp

Due to their impacts on shortwave and longwave radiation, deep convective clouds play an important role in cloud feedbacks as temperature changes. However, the mechanisms that regulate deep convective cloud cover as the environment changes remain uncertain, with hypotheses primarily related to changes in the relative distribution of clear and cloudy areas through either changes in the properties of deep convective anvils or aggregation of convection. This project focuses on using CloudSat and CALIPSO satellite observations to determine how the frequency distribution and characteristics (size, thickness distribution, mean top height) of deep convective clouds changes with dynamic and thermodynamic environmental parameters (SST, water vapor, vertical velocity). Deep convective clouds are identified using contiguous cloudy areas where at least one pixel in the cloud has mean top height over 9 km and a thickness greater than 7 km. Preliminary results show that for increasing SST and water vapor content, the frequency distribution shifts towards deeper clouds with greater spatial extent. These larger clouds have a smaller fraction of precipitating area and more frequent occurrence of cloud thickness <1km, indicating a larger amount of thin anvil.
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