THE DIURNAL AND SEASONAL RADIATIVE EFFECTS OF CIRRUS CLOUDS UTILIZING LARGE AIRBORNE AND SPACE-BORNE LIDAR DATASETS
Dickerson, Russell R
Yorks, John E
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Cirrus clouds are globally the most common cloud type, however, their radiative impact on the Earth remains a large source of uncertainty in global climate models. Cirrus are unique in that they are absorptive to terrestrial outgoing longwave radiation, while also relatively transmissive to incoming solar radiation. The interactions of this greenhouse and albedo effect determine the sign and magnitude of cirrus radiative effects. Cirrus are microphysically complex, and can exhibit a variety of different ice crystal shapes and sizes depending on the thermodynamic environment in which they form, and their dynamic formation mechanism. Our ability to reliably model cirrus radiative effects is dependent upon accurate observations and parameterizations incorporated into radiative transfer simulations. Laser lidar instruments provide valuable measurements of cirrus clouds unavailable by other radar systems, passive remote sensors, or in-situ instruments alone. In this dissertation I developed and tested an improved calibration technique for the ACATS lidar instrument, and its impact on the direct retrieval of cirrus HSRL optical properties. HSRL retrievals theoretically have reduced uncertainty over those from a standard backscatter lidar. ACATS flew on two field campaigns in 2012 and 2015 where it was unable to consistently calibrate its etalon. It has been operating from the lab in NASA GSFC collecting zenith pointing data of cirrus layers where the improved calibration has resulted in consistent and reliable separation of the particulate and Rayleigh signal components. The diurnal trend of cirrus influence on the global scale has primarily been limited to data provided by satellites in sun-synchronous orbit, which provide only a snapshot of conditions at two times a day. Utilizing data from the CATS lidar aboard the ISS I investigated cirrus at four periods throughout the day in morning, afternoon, evening, and night across all seasons. Cirrus radiative effects were found to have a large latitudinal dependence, and have a greater potential to cool than many studies suggest with their primary warming contributions skewed towards the nighttime hours. Constrained lidar retrievals reduce the assumptions made in retrieving cirrus optical properties. Utilizing the expansive airborne CPL dataset from six flight campaigns I model the radiative effects of over twenty thousand constrained cirrus observations. Mid-latitude cirrus were found to have a mean positive daytime forcing equivalent to that of the CO2 greenhouse effect. However, synoptic cirrus were found to have a greater warming effect than convective cirrus, which were more likely to have a cooling effect.