26 Jul 2023
 | 26 Jul 2023

Tethered balloon-borne observations of thermal-infrared irradiance and cooling rate profiles in the Arctic atmospheric boundary layer

Michael Lonardi, Elisa F. Akansu, André Ehrlich, Mauro Mazzola, Christian Pilz, Matthew D. Shupe, Holger Siebert, and Manfred Wendisch

Abstract. Clouds play an important role in controlling the radiative energy budget of the Arctic atmospheric boundary layer. To quantify their impact on diabatic heating or cooling of the atmosphere and of the surface, vertical profile observations of thermal-infrared irradiances were collected using a tethered balloon. We present 70 profiles of thermal-infrared radiative quantities measured in summer 2020 at the Multidisciplinary drifting Observatory for the Study of Arctic Climate (MOSAiC) expedition, and in autumn 2021 and spring 2022 in Ny-Ålesund, Svalbard. Measurements are classified into four groups: cloudless, low-level liquid-bearing cloud, elevated liquid-bearing cloud, and elevated ice cloud. Cloudless cases display a radiative cooling rate of about -2 K day-1. Observed low-level liquid-bearing clouds are characterized by a radiative cooling up to -80 K day-1 in a shallow layer at cloud top. Radiative transfer simulations are performed to quantify the sensitivity of radiative cooling rates to cloud microphysical properties. In particular, cloud top cooling has a strong response to variation of the liquid water path, especially in optically thin clouds, while for optically thick clouds the cloud droplet number concentration has an increased relative importance. Two case studies with a changing cloud cover are presented to investigate the temporal evolution of radiation profiles during the transitions between (a) cloudy to cloudless and (b) low-level to elevated clouds. Additional radiative transfer simulations are used to reproduce the observed scenarios and to showcase the radiative impacts of elevated liquid and ice clouds, demonstrating the increased radiative significance of the liquid clouds.

Michael Lonardi et al.

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • AC1: 'Missing Figure 3', Michael Lonardi, 22 Aug 2023
  • RC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-1396', Anonymous Referee #1, 24 Aug 2023
  • RC2: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-1396', Anonymous Referee #2, 26 Sep 2023

Michael Lonardi et al.

Michael Lonardi et al.


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Short summary
Profiles of thermal-infrared irradiance were measured at two Arctic sites. The presence or lack of clouds influences the vertical structure of these observations. In particular, the cloud top region is a source of radiative energy that can promote cooling and mixing in the cloud layer. Simulations are used to further characterize how the amount of water in the cloud modifies this forcing. Two case studies additionally showcase the evolution of the radiation profiles in a dynamic atmosphere.