Unglaub, C; Block, K; Mulmenstadt, J; Sourdeyal, O; Quaas, J (2020). A new classification of satellite-derived liquid water cloud regimes at cloud scale. ATMOSPHERIC CHEMISTRY AND PHYSICS, 20(4), 2407-2418.

Clouds are highly variable in time and space, affecting climate sensitivity and climate change. To study and distinguish the different influences of clouds on the climate system, it is useful to separate clouds into individual cloud regimes. In this work we present a new cloud classification for liquid water clouds at cloud scale defined using cloud parameters retrieved from combined satellite measurements from CloudSat and CALIPSO. The idea is that cloud heterogeneity is a measure that allows us to distinguish cumuliform and stratiform clouds, and cloud-base height is a measure to distinguish cloud altitude. The approach makes use of a newly developed cloud-base height retrieval. Using three cloud-base height intervals and two intervals of cloud-top variability as an inhomogeneity parameter provides six new liquid cloud classes. The results show a smooth transition between marine and continental clouds as well as between stratiform and cumuliform clouds in different latitudes at the high spatial resolution of about 20 km. Analysing the micro- and macrophysical cloud parameters from collocated combined MODIS, CloudSat and CALIPSO retrievals shows distinct characteristics for each cloud regime that are in agreement with expectation and literature. This demonstrates the usefulness of the classification.