30 Aug 2023
 | 30 Aug 2023
Status: this preprint is open for discussion and under review for Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP).

Broadband and filter radiometers at Ross Island, Antarctica: Detection of cloud ice phase versus liquid water influences on shortwave and longwave radiation

Kristopher Scarci, Ryan Scott, Madison Ghiz, Andrew Vogelmann, and Dan Lubin

Abstract. Surface radiometer data from Ross Island, Antarctica, collected during the austral summer 2015–16 by the US Department of Energy Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) program West Antarctic Radiation Experiment (AWARE), are used to evaluate how shortwave and longwave irradiance respond to changing cloud properties as governed by contrasting meteorological regimes. Shortwave atmospheric transmittance is derived from pyranometer measurements, and cloud conservative-scattering optical depth is derived from filter radiometer measurements at 870 nm. With onshore flow associated with marine air masses, clouds contain mostly liquid water. With southerly flow over the Transantarctic Mountains, orographic forcing induces substantial cloud ice water content. These ice and mixed-phase clouds attenuate more surface shortwave irradiance than the maritime-influenced clouds, and also emit less longwave irradiance due to colder cloud base temperature. These detected irradiance changes are in a range that can mean onset or inhibition of surface melt over ice shelves. This study demonstrates how basic and relatively low-cost broadband and filter radiometers can be used to detect subtle climatological influences of contrasting cloud microphysical properties at very remote locations.

Kristopher Scarci et al.

Status: open (until 25 Oct 2023)

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Kristopher Scarci et al.

Kristopher Scarci et al.


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Short summary
We demonstrate what can be learned about an Antarctic region's climate from basic atmospheric irradiance measurements made by broadband and filter radiometers, instruments suitable for deployment at very remote sites, assisted by meteorological reanalysis and satellite remote sensing. Analysis of shortwave and longwave irradiance reveals subtle contrasts between meteorological regimes favoring cloud ice versus liquid water, relevant to onset versus inhibition of surface melt over ice shelves.