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Climatology of Cloud-Top Radiative Cooling in Marine Shallow Clouds

ESSIC/CISESS scientists Youtong Zheng and Zhanqing Li are co-authors on a paper recently published in Geophysical Research Letters titled “Climatology of Cloud-Top Radiative Cooling in Marine Shallow Clouds”

Cloud top radiative cooling (CTRC) is the cooling that occurs when marine low-lying clouds emit thermal radiation. A change in CTRC can influence the properties of marine clouds in many ways, such as altering the vertical motions of clouds and changing the cloud’s ability to reflect sunlight. Despite this significant importance to the climate systems, CTRC’s climatological characteristics remain unknown. This work fills this knowledge gap.

Using previously developed novel satellite methodology, the researchers generated the product of CTRC over the global ocean. Their analyses show that the spatial and temporal distributions of the CTRC are largely reflections of the atmospheric humidity: the drier the atmosphere, the stronger the cooling. As a result, the CTRC is weakest in the wet tropics and strongest in the dry eastern subtropical oceans, such as the west of California coast.

At ESSIC, Zheng’s main research interests are observation, remote sensing, and theory of cloud-topped boundary layer. He is currently working with ESSIC/AOSC Professor Dr. Zhanqing Li on topics related to cloud-surface decoupling processes over the Southern Ocean and their impacts on aerosol cloud-mediated effect. Li is a professor at AOSC and ESSIC at University of Maryland. He has engaged in a wide range of studies concerning climate change, atmospheric physics, terrestrial and atmospheric environment. On the study, Zheng and Li collaborated with Nanjing University researchers Yannian Zhu and Daniel Rosenfeld.

To access the paper, click here: “Climatology of Cloud-Top Radiative Cooling in Marine Shallow Clouds”.

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