Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-2023-2763
https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-2023-2763
23 Nov 2023
 | 23 Nov 2023

Observations of Tropical Tropopause Layer clouds from a balloon-borne lidar

Thomas Lesigne, Francois Ravetta, Aurélien Podglajen, Vincent Mariage, and Jacques Pelon

Abstract. Tropical Tropopause Layer (TTL) clouds have a significant impact on the Earth’s radiative budget and regulate the amount of water vapor entering the stratosphere. During the Strateole-2 observation campaign, three microlidars were flown onboard stratospheric superpressure balloons from October 2021 to late January 2022, slowly drifting only a few kilometers above the TTL. These measurements have unprecedented sensitivity to thin cirrus and provide a fine-scale description of cloudy structures both in time and space. Case studies of collocated observations with the space-borne lidar Cloud-Aerosol Lidar with Orthogonal Polarization (CALIOP) show a very good agreement between the instruments and highlight the unique ability of the microlidar to detect optically very thin clouds below CALIOP detection capacity (optical depth τ < 2 · 10−3). Statistics on cloud occurrence show that TTL cirrus appear in more than 50 % of the microlidar profiles and have a mean geometrical depth of 1 km. Ultrathin TTL cirrus (τ < 2 · 10−3) have a significant coverage (16 % of the profiles) and their mean geometrical depth is below 500 m.

Thomas Lesigne, Francois Ravetta, Aurélien Podglajen, Vincent Mariage, and Jacques Pelon

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-2763', Anonymous Referee #1, 07 Dec 2023
  • RC2: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-2763', Anonymous Referee #2, 12 Dec 2023
  • RC3: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-2763', Anonymous Referee #3, 21 Dec 2023
    • RC4: 'Reply on RC3', Anonymous Referee #3, 21 Dec 2023
Thomas Lesigne, Francois Ravetta, Aurélien Podglajen, Vincent Mariage, and Jacques Pelon
Thomas Lesigne, Francois Ravetta, Aurélien Podglajen, Vincent Mariage, and Jacques Pelon

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Short summary
Upper tropical clouds have a strong impact on Earth climate but are challenging to observe. We report the first long-duration observations of tropical clouds from lidars flying onboard stratospheric balloons. Comparisons with space-borne observations reveal the unique sensitivity of balloon-borne lidar to optically thin clouds. The thinnest ones have a significant coverage and lay in the uppermost troposphere, they are linked with the dehydration of air masses on their way to the stratosphere.