A Case Study of Airmass Transformation and Cloud Formation at Summit, Greenland
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A Case Study of Airmass Transformation and Cloud Formation at Summit, Greenland
  • Published Date:

    2019

  • Source:
    J. Atmos. Sci. (2019) 76 (10): 3095–3113.
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A Case Study of Airmass Transformation and Cloud Formation at Summit, Greenland
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  • Description:
    This study investigates cloud formation and transitions in cloud types at Summit, Greenland, during 16–22 September 2010, when a warm, moist air mass was advected to Greenland from lower latitudes. During this period there was a sharp transition between high ice clouds and the formation of a lower stratocumulus deck at Summit. A regional mesoscale model is used to investigate the air masses that form these cloud systems. It is found that the high ice clouds form in originally warm, moist air masses that radiatively cool while being transported to Summit. A sensitivity study removing high ice clouds demonstrates that the primary impact of these clouds at Summit is to reduce cloud liquid water embedded within the ice cloud and water vapor in the boundary layer due to vapor deposition on snow. The mixed-phase stratocumulus clouds form at the base of cold, dry air masses advected from the northwest above 4 km. The net surface radiative fluxes during the stratocumulus period are at least 20 W m−2 larger than during the ice cloud period, indicating that, in seasons other than summer, cold, dry air masses advected to Summit above the boundary layer may radiatively warm the top of the Greenland Ice Sheet more effectively than warm, moist air masses advected from lower latitudes.
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