Distinct dynamical properties of low clouds



Witte, Mikael — Naval Postgraduate School
Jeong, Jong-Hoon — University of California, Los Angeles

Area of research:

Cloud Processes

Journal Reference:

Jeong J, M Witte, I Glenn, M Smalley, M Lebsock, K Lamer, and Z ZHU. 2022. "Distinct dynamical and structural properties of marine stratocumulus and shallow cumulus clouds in the Eastern North Atlantic." Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, 127(19), e2022JD037021, 10.1029/2022JD037021.


Marine low clouds over the ocean are critical to the climate system. These clouds have air motion in them at spatial scales smaller than the grid size of current global models. What statistical features of low-cloud dynamics using long-term remote-sensing observation?


Our findings suggest that care must be taken when interpreting island-based observations as representative of a generic marine dynamic environment.


We identified the two marine boundary-layer clouds (e.g., stratocumulus and shallow cumulus clouds). These two clouds have distinct dynamical characteristics for the first four moments of the vertical velocity (w) distributions. Also, we found a strong dependence of subcloud mean w depending on near-surface horizontal wind direction.