Science Seminars

Observing Cloud Ice from A-Train Satellites and Wildfire Smoke from Aircraft

Speaker: Min Deng (LASP)
Date: Thursday, Oct 21, 2021
Time: 4:00 PM
Location: Zoom

Seminar Abstract:

Clouds are the largest source of uncertainties in predicting future climate changes. Since the launch of the CloudSat satellite in 2006, millimeter cloud profiling radar (CPR) measurements, in combination with other sensors of the A-Train constellation, have provided unprecedented global 3-D cloud observations. The CloudSat level-2C ice cloud property product (2C-ICE), a standard operational dataset, provides vertically resolved retrievals of ice cloud properties such as effective radius, ice water content, and visible extinction by synergistically combining CPR radar reflectivity and CALIPSO lidar backscattering. The 2C-ICE was widely used to study ice cloud properties and cloud radiative forcing, and to evaluate and improve climate model simulations. The first half of the talk will summarize the 2C-ICE product, highlight a few applications, and discuss new developments for A-train and near future space-based multi-sensor observations.

Wildfire smoke is a complex mixture of pollutants that can undergo physical and chemical transformation processes during transport and can significantly impact air quality and public health over vast geophysical areas, as we experienced in the recent summers. During the summer of 2018, the Wyoming Cloud Lidars (WCLs) were deployed on NSF/NCAR C-130 for Western Wildfire Experiments for Cloud Chemistry, Aerosol absorption and Nitrogen (WE-CAN) campaign, and on the University of Wyoming King Air (UWKA) for the Biomass Burning Flux Measurements of Trace Gases and Aerosols (BB-FLUX) campaign simultaneously. Other than providing vertical contexts for in situ sampling, WCL observed fire plumes vertical structures can be used to determine plume injection height, a critical parameter to model fire plume dispersion and long-range transport. Plume injection heights sampled during the BB-FLUX are closely related to the plume transport distance, fire intensity, and atmospheric boundary layer stability. The fire plume evolution is also examined with pseudo-Lagrangian WCL transects during the WE-CAN project.