Yuan, TL, Li, ZQ (2010). General Macro- and Microphysical Properties of Deep Convective Clouds as Observed by MODIS. JOURNAL OF CLIMATE, 23(13), 3457-3473.
Deep convective clouds (DCCs) are an important player in the climate system. In this paper the authors use remote sensing data mainly from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) cloud product to investigate a few general cloud macro- and microphysical properties of DCCs. This investigation concentrates on the tallest convective clouds and associated thick anvils that are labeled deep convective clouds.'' General geographical patterns of DCCs from MODIS data are consistent with previous studies. By examining statistics of optical properties of DCCs over different locations of the globe, it is found that cloud optical depth distribution for DCCs shows little interannual variability for individual regions. These distributions, however, change with geographical regions. DCC ice particle size varies with surface elevation and cloud brightness temperature. DCCs that develop over elevated areas tend to have smaller ice particles at cloud top. There is a positive correlation between ice particle size and brightness temperature. The slope of this correlation has significant regional variations, which can be explained either with a simple thermodynamic consideration or with homogeneous freezing of aerosols. The findings have important implications in studying radiation budget, ice cloud microphysics parameterization, and troposphere-stratosphere water vapor exchange.