Mixtures of stratospheric and overshooting air measured using A-Train sensors

Iwasaki, S., T. Shibata, H. Okamoto, H. Ishimoto, and H. Kubota (2012), Mixtures of stratospheric and overshooting air measured using A-Train sensors, J. Geophys. Res., 117, D12207, doi:10.1029/2011JD017402.

Synergetic spaceborne observations of overshooting air, defined as cloud intrusion through the level of neutral buoyancy above deep convection, are analyzed using various thresholds introduced in previous studies to detect overshooting. The brightness temperature of the overshooting air measured by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) is generally 2 K higher than that retrieved by the radiative transfer model, in which the size distribution of ice cloud particles is estimated from Cloud-Aerosol Lidar with Orthogonal Polarization (CALIOP) and CloudSat data and the vertical temperature profile of cloud is assumed to follow that of the European Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecast (ECMWF). The lapse rate of overshooting whose cloud top is higher than the level of the cold-point temperature (CPT) is lower than that of an adiabatic expansion. These observations can be rationalized as being due to the overshooting air being locally warmed by a mixture of warmer stratospheric air. Analysis of CALIOP and CloudSat data by using a radar-lidar algorithm shows that the mode of averaged ice water content of the overshoot above the CPT height is 6.3–10 mg/m3. Therefore, if 5% or more of ice particles in the overshoot are sublimated and mixed into the lower stratosphere, the lower stratospheric air will be hydrated. The difference between the brightness temperatures of 6.7 and 11 mm channels observed with MODIS demonstrates that the overshoot enhances stratospheric water vapor. These results indicate that the warm stratospheric air moves downward at and around the overshoot and mixes with the overshooting air and that the overshooting hydrates the lower stratosphere.

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