92nd American Meteorological Society Annual Meeting (January 22-26, 2012)

Thursday, 26 January 2012: 2:45 PM
A Multi-Sensor Satellite-Based Examination of Cloud Structure, Precipitation, and the Thermodynamic Environment in a Warm Frontal Cloud System
Room 257 (New Orleans Convention Center )
Derek J. Posselt, Univ. of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI; and J. A. Crespo, G. Tierney, and C. M. Naud

Decades of analysis have uncovered many aspects of the relationship between synoptic and mesoscale extratropical cyclone dynamics and the horizontal distribution of clouds. What remains unclear is how changes in cyclone circulation and environment are related to changes in cloud radiative properties and the horizontal distribution and intensity of precipitation. Measurements obtained from satellites in NASA's A-Train constellation provide an unprecedented opportunity to examine the details of the three dimensional interaction between clouds, aerosol, and radiation in frontal zones.

In this presentation, information from multiple instruments in NASA's A-Train of satellites, is used to examine the horizontal and vertical structure of a warm frontal cloud system that occurred over the North Atlantic ocean in November 2006. The clouds observed by the A-Train were associated with a remarkably persistent ascending south to north warm conveyor belt (WCB) airstream that continued in approximately the same geographic location for more than 3 days. This WCB airstream produced copious amounts of clouds and precipitation, and was sampled several times by the A-Train constellation. We document the joint properties of the aerosols, clouds, precipitation, and radiation associated with this system, and offer a discussion of the utility of CloudSat and A-Train observations for the characterization of frontal cloud processes.

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