A Climatology of Midlatitude Maritime Cloud Fraction and Radiative Effect Derived from the ARM ENA Ground-Based Observations

Xiquan Dong, Xiaojian Zheng, Baike Xi, Shaocheng Xie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


More than four years of ground-based measurements taken at the ARM Eastern North Atlantic (ENA) site between July 2015 and September 2019 have been collected and processed in this study. Monthly and hourly means of clear-sky, all-sky, total cloud fraction (CFT), and single-layered low (CFL) and high (CFH) clouds, the impacts of all scene types on the surface radiation budget (SRB), and their cloud radiative effects (CREs) have been examined. The annual averages of CFT, CFL, and CFH are 0.785, 0.342, and 0.123, respectively. The annual averages of the SW (LW) CREs for all sky, total, low, and high clouds are 256.7 (37.7), 276.6 (48.5), 273.7 (51.4), and 226.8 (13.9) W m22, respectively, resulting in the NET CREs of 219.0, 228.0, 222.2, and 212.9 W m22. Comparing the cloud properties and CREs at both ARM ENA and Southern Great Plains (SGP) sites, we found that the clear-sky downwelling SW and LW fluxes at the two sites are similar to each other due to their similar atmospheric background. Compared to SGP, the lower all-sky SW and higher LW fluxes at ENA are caused by its higher CFT and all-sky precipitable water vapor (PWV). With different low cloud microphysical properties and cloud condensation nuclei at the two sites, much higher cloud optical depth at SGP plays an important role in determining its lower SW flux, while Tb and PWV are important for downwelling LW flux at the surface. A sensitivity study has shown that the all-sky SW CREs at SGP are more sensitive to CFT (21.07 W m22 %21) than at ENA (20.689 W m22 %21), with the same conclusion for all-sky LW CREs (0.735 W m22 %21 at SGP vs 0.318 W m22 %21 at ENA). The results over the two sites shed new light on the impacts of clouds on the midlatitude surface radiation budgets, over both ocean and land.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)531-546
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Climate
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 15 2023


  • Cloud radiative effects
  • Longwave radiation
  • Shortwave radiation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science


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