85th AMS Annual Meeting

Tuesday, 11 January 2005: 5:00 PM
The NSA/SHEBA Cloud and radiation comparison study
Janet M. Intrieri, NOAA/ETL, Boulder, CO; and M. D. Shupe
Poster PDF (97.9 kB)
Cloud and radiation data from two distinctly different Arctic areas are analyzed to study the differences between coastal Alaskan and open Arctic Ocean region clouds and their respective influence on the surface radiation budget. The cloud and radiation datasets were obtained from 1) the DOE North Slope of Alaska (NSA) facility in the coastal town of Barrow, Alaska, and 2) the SHEBA field program, which was conducted from an icebreaker frozen in, and drifting with, the sea-ice for one year in the Western Arctic Ocean. Radar, lidar, radiometer, and sounding measurements from both locations were used to produce annual cycles of cloud occurrence and height, atmospheric temperature and humidity, surface longwave and shortwave broadband fluxes, surface albedo, and cloud radiative forcing. In general, both regions revealed a similar annual trend of cloud occurrence fraction with minimum values in winter (60-75%) and maximum values during spring, summer and fall (80-90%). However, the annual average cloud occurrence fraction for SHEBA was lower (76%) than the 6-year average cloud occurrence at NSA (92%). Both Arctic areas also showed similar annual cycle trends of cloud forcing with clouds warming the surface through most of the year and a period of surface cooling during the summer, when cloud shading effects overwhelm cloud greenhouse effects. The greatest difference between the two regions was observed in the magnitude of the cloud cooling effect (i.e., shortwave cloud forcing), which was significantly stronger at NSA and lasted for a longer period of time than at SHEBA. This is predominantly due to the longer and stronger melt season at NSA (i.e., albedo values that are much lower coupled with Sun angles that are somewhat higher) than the melt season observed over the ice pack at SHEBA. Longwave cloud forcing values were comparable between the two sites indicating a general similarity in cloudiness and atmospheric temperature and humidity structure between the two regions.

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