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Mixed-phase clouds over the Southern Ocean as observed from satellite and surface based lidar and radar


Mace, GG and Protat, A and Benson, S, Mixed-phase clouds over the Southern Ocean as observed from satellite and surface based lidar and radar, Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, 126, (16) Article e2021JD034569. ISSN 2169-897X (2021) [Refereed Article]

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Copyright Statement

ę 2021 The Authors. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0) License, ( which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited and is not used for commercial purposes.

DOI: doi:10.1029/2021JD034569


This study investigates the occurrence of mixed-phase clouds (MPC, i.e., cloud layers containing both liquid and ice water at sub-freezing temperatures) over the Southern Ocean (SO) using space- and surface-based lidar and radar observations. The occurrence of supercooled clouds is dominated by geometrically thin (<1ákm) layers that rarely contain ice. We diagnose layers that are geometrically thicker than 1ákm to contain ice ~65% and ~4% of the time from below by surface remote sensors and from above by orbiting remote sensors, respectively. We examine the discrepancy in MPC occurrence statistics as diagnosed from below and above the cloud layer. From above, we find that MPC occurrence has a gradient associated with the Antarctic Polar Front near 55░S with a rare occurrence of satellite-derived MPC south of that latitude. In contrast, surface sensors find ice in 33% of supercooled liquid water layers. We infer using observing system simulation experiments and data analysis that space-based lidar cannot identify the occurrence of MPC except when secondary ice-forming processes operate in convection that is, sufficiently strong to loft ice crystals to cloud tops. We conclude that the CALIPSO phase statistics of MPC have a severe low bias in MPC occurrence. Based on surface-based statistics in the SO, we present a parameterization of the frequency of MPC as a function of cloud top temperature that differs substantially from that used in recent climate model simulations.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Southern Ocean, lidar, radar, mixed-phase clouds
Research Division:Earth Sciences
Research Group:Oceanography
Research Field:Physical oceanography
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Management of Antarctic and Southern Ocean environments
Objective Field:Antarctic and Southern Ocean oceanic processes
UTAS Author:Protat, A (Dr Alain Protat)
ID Code:151751
Year Published:2021
Web of Science® Times Cited:10
Deposited By:Australian Antarctic Program Partnership
Deposited On:2022-08-04
Last Modified:2022-10-10
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