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Tropical convection and anvil cirrus

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Thursday, 27 January 2011
Tropical convection and anvil cirrus
Washington State Convention Center
Sally A. McFarlane, PNNL, Richland, WA; and J. Comstock

Tropical convective clouds are important elements of the hydrological cycle and produce extensive cirrus anvils which strongly affect the tropical radiative energy balance. In most current climate models, the optical properties of anvil cirrus are only weakly linked to the properties of the convective clouds that generate them. To improve simulations of the global water and energy cycles, and accurately predict cloud radiative feedbacks, models need more realistic links between the relationships between the properties of convective clouds and the anvil clouds they generate.

By combining remote sensing datasets from precipitation and cloud radars at the ARM Darwin site with geostationary satellite images, we can develop observational links between convective and anvil clouds. We will present a dataset developed by identifying and tracking tropical convective systems (and their associated anvils) in the tropical western pacific using geostationary satellite observations. The database will also contain information on the macrophysical properties of the convective system (size, age, intensity) and microphysical properties of the associated anvil (water path, particle size). For systems that cross over the ARM sites, information on convective intensity (from C-Pol) and anvil properties (from MMCR/MPL) will also be obtained. Once the dataset has been compiled, relationships between the properties of convection and anvil clouds in the observations and those simulated by regional and global models will be examined to evaluate the models.