Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-2023-2989
https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-2023-2989
15 Dec 2023
 | 15 Dec 2023

Thermodynamic and cloud evolution in a cold air outbreak during HALO-(AC)3: Quasi-Lagrangian observations compared to the ERA5 and CARRA reanalyses

Benjamin Kirbus, Imke Schirmacher, Marcus Klingebiel, Michael Schäfer, André Ehrlich, Nils Slättberg, Johannes Lucke, Manuel Moser, Hanno Müller, and Manfred Wendisch

Abstract. Intense air mass transformations take place when cold, dry Arctic air masses move southward from the closed sea ice onto the much warmer ice-free Arctic ocean during marine cold air outbreaks (MCAOs). In spite of intensive research on MCAOs during recent years, the temporal rates of diabatic heating and moisture uptake relevant also for cloud formation/dissipation have not been measured along MCAO flows. Instead, reanalyses have typically been used for climatological investigations of MCAOs or to supply higher-resolution models with lateral boundary conditions and time-dependent forcings. Meanwhile, the uncertainties connected to those datasets remain unclear.

Here, we present height-resolved observations of diabatic heating rates, moisture uptake, and cloud evolution measured in a quasi-Lagrangian manner. The investigated specific MCAO was observed on 01 April 2022 during the HALO-(AC)3 airborne campaign that was conducted in spring 2022. Shortly after passing the ice edge, maximum diabatic heating rates larger than 6 K h−1 and moisture uptake of more than 0.3 g kg−1 h−1 were measured close above the ocean surface. As the air mass continued its drift southwards, clouds started to form and vertical mixing within the steadily deepening boundary layer was intensified. The quasi-Lagrange observations are compared with reanalysis data from the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) latest global reanalysis ERA5 and the Copernicus Arctic Regional Reanalysis (CARRA). It was found that the mean absolute errors (MAEs) of ERA5 versus CARRA data are 60 % higher for air temperature over sea ice (1.4 K versus 0.9 K), and 70 % higher for specific humidity over ice-free ocean (0.12 g kg−1 versus 0.07 g kg−1 ). We relate these differences not only to issues with representations of the marginal ice zone and corresponding surface fluxes in ERA5, but also to the cloud scheme producing excess liquid-bearing clouds and precipitation, causing a too-dry marine boundary layer. Overall, the combination of CARRA’s high spatial resolution, an improved handling of cold surfaces, and the demonstrated higher fidelity towards the observations, make it a well-suited candidate for further investigations of Arctic air mass transformations.

Benjamin Kirbus, Imke Schirmacher, Marcus Klingebiel, Michael Schäfer, André Ehrlich, Nils Slättberg, Johannes Lucke, Manuel Moser, Hanno Müller, and Manfred Wendisch

Status: closed

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-2989', Anonymous Referee #1, 08 Jan 2024
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC1', Benjamin Kirbus, 16 Feb 2024
  • RC2: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-2989', Anonymous Referee #2, 16 Jan 2024
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC1', Benjamin Kirbus, 16 Feb 2024

Status: closed

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-2989', Anonymous Referee #1, 08 Jan 2024
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC1', Benjamin Kirbus, 16 Feb 2024
  • RC2: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-2989', Anonymous Referee #2, 16 Jan 2024
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC1', Benjamin Kirbus, 16 Feb 2024
Benjamin Kirbus, Imke Schirmacher, Marcus Klingebiel, Michael Schäfer, André Ehrlich, Nils Slättberg, Johannes Lucke, Manuel Moser, Hanno Müller, and Manfred Wendisch
Benjamin Kirbus, Imke Schirmacher, Marcus Klingebiel, Michael Schäfer, André Ehrlich, Nils Slättberg, Johannes Lucke, Manuel Moser, Hanno Müller, and Manfred Wendisch

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Short summary
A research aircraft is used to track the changes in air temperature, moisture, and cloud properties for air that moves from cold Arctic sea ice onto warmer oceanic waters. The measurements are compared to two reanalysis models named ERA5 and CARRA. The biggest differences are found for air temperature over the sea ice and moisture over the ocean. CARRA data is more accurate than ERA5 because it better simulates the sea ice, the transition from sea ice to open ocean, and the forming clouds.