Fierli, F, Di Donfrancesco, G, Cairo, F, Marecal, V, Zampieri, M, Orlandi, E, Durry, G (2008). Variability of cirrus clouds in a convective outflow during the Hibiscus campaign. ATMOSPHERIC CHEMISTRY AND PHYSICS, 8(16), 4547-4558.
Light-weight microlidar and water vapour measurements were taken on-board a stratospheric balloon during the HIBISCUS 2004 campaign, held in Bauru, Brazil (49 degrees W, 22 degrees S). Cirrus clouds were observed throughout the flight between 12 and 15 km height with a high mesoscale variability in optical and microphysical properties. It was found that the cirrus clouds were composed of different layers characterized by marked differences in height, thickness and optical properties. Simultaneous water vapour observations show that the different layers are characterized by different values of the saturation with respect to ice. A mesoscale simulation and a trajectory analysis clearly revealed that the clouds had formed in the outflow of a large and persistent convective region and that the observed variability of the optical properties and of the cloud structure is likely linked to the different residence times of the convectively-processed air in the upper troposphere.