Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-2024-1090
https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-2024-1090
18 Apr 2024
 | 18 Apr 2024
Status: this preprint is open for discussion and under review for Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP).

How does the lifetime of detrained cirrus impact the high cloud radiative effect in the tropics?

George Horner and Edward Gryspeerdt

Abstract. The lifetime of cirrus clouds from deep convection plays an important role in determining their overall cloud radiative effect (CRE). The net CRE of cirrus clouds from deep convection is close to zero over their whole lifetime. This CRE is the result of a near-cancellation of a large shortwave (SW) cooling and large longwave (LW) warming, such that small changes in cirrus properties have the potential to produce a large net radiative effect. Changes in the atmospheric and sea surface temperature structure, along with changes in anthropogenic aerosol, have been hypothesised to impact the lifetime of detrained cirrus clouds, altering this radiative balance. Constraining the potential CRE response to changes in cirrus lifetime is therefore vital to understand the strength of these proposed climate forcings and feedbacks.

This paper tracks the evolution of detrained cirrus clouds along trajectories from deep convection. The total cirrus CRE in the tropics is found to be 3.6 ± 0.4 Wm-2. It's found that cirrus clouds along trajectories from oceanic origin convection have a CRE of 2.9 ± 0.4 Wm-2. In contrast, cirrus clouds along trajectories from land convection have a warming of 6.3 ± 0.6 Wm-2 throughout their lifetime. This contrast is predominantly due to differences in the diurnal cycle of the initial convection over land and ocean.

A proposed extension to the lifetime of the detrained cirrus leads to changes in the total cirrus CRE in the tropics. In all cases, doubling the lifetime of the detrained cirrus leads to an increase in the total cirrus CRE of 1.2 ± 0.1 Wm-2. This result provides an important constraint on the impact of changes in the lifetime of detrained cirrus in a future climate or in response to aerosol perturbations on the total tropical CRE.

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George Horner and Edward Gryspeerdt

Status: open (until 30 May 2024)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2024-1090', Anonymous Referee #1, 13 May 2024 reply
  • RC2: 'Comment on egusphere-2024-1090', Anonymous Referee #2, 19 May 2024 reply
  • RC3: 'Comment on egusphere-2024-1090', Anonymous Referee #3, 21 May 2024 reply
George Horner and Edward Gryspeerdt
George Horner and Edward Gryspeerdt

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Short summary
This work tracks the lifecycle of thin cirrus clouds that flow out of tropical convective storms. These cirrus clouds are found to have a warming effect on the atmosphere over their whole lifetime. Thin cirrus that originate from land origin convection warm more than those of ocean origin. Moreover, if the lifetime of these cirrus clouds increase, the warming they exert over their whole lifetime also increases. These results help us understand how these clouds might change in a future climate.