Wednesday, 25 January 2017: 10:45 AM
Conference Center: Skagit 3 (Washington State Convention Center )
Arctic low clouds strongly affect the Arctic surface energy budget. Through this impact Arctic low clouds influence other important aspects of the Arctic climate system, namely surface and atmospheric temperature, sea ice extent and thickness, and atmospheric circulation. Arctic clouds are in turn influenced by these Arctic climate system elements creating the potential for Arctic cloud-climate feedbacks. To further our understanding of the potential for Arctic cloud-climate feedbacks, we quantify the influence of atmospheric state on the surface cloud radiative effect (CRE). In addition, we quantify the covariability between surface CRE and sea ice concentration (SIC). This paper builds on previous research using instantaneous, active remote sensing satellite footprint data from the NASA A-Train. First, the results indicate significant differences in the surface CRE when stratified by atmospheric state. Second, a statistically insignificant covariability is found between CRE and SIC for most atmospheric conditions. Third, we find a statistically significant increase in the average surface longwave CRE at lower SIC values in fall. Specifically, a +3-5 W m‑2 larger longwave CRE is found over footprints with 0% versus 100% SIC. Because systematic changes on the order of 1 W m‑2 are sufficient to explain the observed long-term reductions in sea ice extent, our results indicate a potentially significant amplifying sea ice-cloud feedback that could delay the fall freeze-up and influence the variability in sea ice extent and volume, under certain meteorological conditions. Our results also suggest that a small change in the frequency of occurrence of atmosphere states may yield a larger Arctic cloud feedback than any cloud response to sea ice.
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