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Zhang, GJ, Vogelmann, AM, Jensen, MP, Collins, WD, Luke, EP (2010). Relating Satellite-Observed Cloud Properties from MODIS to Meteorological Conditions for Marine Boundary Layer Clouds. JOURNAL OF CLIMATE, 23(6), 1374-1391.

This study examines 6 yr of cloud properties observed by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on board the NASA Terra satellite in five prominent marine boundary layer (MBL) cloud regions (California, Peru, Canary, Angola, and Australia) and investigates their relationships with near-surface meteorological parameters obtained from NCEP reanalyses. About 62 000 independent scenes are used to examine the instantaneous relationships between cloud properties and meteorological parameters that may be used for global climate model (GCM) diagnostics and parameterization. Cloud liquid water path (LWP) generally increases with lower-tropospheric stability (LTS) and lifting condensation level (LCL), whereas cloud drizzle frequency is favored by weak LTS and negligible cold air advection. Cloud fraction (CF) depends strongly on variations in LTS, and to a lesser extent on surface air temperature advection and LCL, although the relationships vary from region to region. The authors propose capturing the effects of these three parameters on CF via their linear combination in terms of a single parameter, the effective lower-tropospheric stability (eLTS). Results indicate that eLTS offers a marked improvement over LTS alone in explaining the median CF variations within the different study regions. A parameterization of CF in terms of eLTS is provided, which produces results that are improved over those of Klein and Hartmann's LTS-only parameterization. However, the new parameterization may not predict the observed variability correctly, and the authors propose a method that might address this shortcoming via a statistical approach.



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