Toward the Characterization of Mixed-Phase Clouds Using Remote Sensing

Thursday, 17 December 2015
Poster Hall (Moscone South)
Constantin Andronache, Boston College, Chestnut Hill, MA, United States
Mixed-phase clouds consist of a mixture of ice particles and liquid droplets at temperatures below 0 deg C. They are present in all seasons in many regions of the world, account for about 30% of the global cloud coverage, and are linked to cloud electrification and aircraft icing. The mix of ice particles, liquid droplets, and water vapor is unstable, and such clouds are thought to have a short lifetime. A characteristic parameter is the phase composition of mixed-phase clouds. It affects the cloud life cycle and the rate of precipitation. This parameter is important for cloud parameters retrievals by radar, lidar, and satellite and is relevant for climate modeling. The phase transformation includes the remarkable Wegener-Bergeron–Findeisen (WBF) process. The direction and the rate of the phase transformations depend on the local thermodynamic and microphysical properties. Cloud condensation nuclei (CCN) and ice nuclei (IN) particles determine to a large extent cloud microstructure and the dynamic response of clouds to aerosols. The complexity of dynamics and microphysics involved in mixed-phase clouds requires a set of observational and modeling tools that continue to be refined. Among these techniques, the remote sensing methods provide an increasing number of parameters, covering large regions of the world. Thus, a series of studies were dedicated to stratiform mixed-phase clouds revealing longer lifetime than previously thought. Satellite data and aircraft in situ measurements in deep convective clouds suggest that highly supercooled water often occurs in vigorous continental convective storms. In this study, we use cases of convective clouds to discuss the feasibility of mixed-phase clouds characterization and potential advantages of remote sensing.