A global record of single-layered ice cloud properties and associated radiative heating rate profiles from an A-Train perspective

Erica K. Dolinar, Xiquan Dong, Baike Xi, Jonathan H. Jiang, Norman G. Loeb, James R. Campbell, Hui Su

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


A record of global single-layered ice cloud properties has been generated using the CloudSat and CALIPSO Ice Cloud Property Product (2C-ICE) during the period 2007–2010. These ice cloud properties are used as inputs for the NASA Langley modified Fu–Liou radiative transfer model to calculate cloud radiative heating rate profiles and are compared with the NASA CERES observed top-of-atmosphere fluxes. The radiative heating rate profiles calculated in the CloudSat/CALIPSO 2B-FLXHR-LIDAR and CCCM_CC products are also examined to assess consistency and uncertainty of their properties using independent methods. Based on the methods and definitions used herein, single-layered ice clouds have a global occurrence frequency of ~ 18%, with most of them occurring in the tropics above 12 km. Zonal mean cloud radiative heating rate profiles from the three datasets are similar in their patterns of SW warming and LW cooling with small differences in magnitude; nevertheless, all three datasets show that the strongest net heating (> + 1.0 K day−1) occurs in the tropics (latitude < 30°) near the cloud-base while cooling occurs at higher latitudes (> ~ 50°). Differences in radiative heating rates are also assessed based on composites of the 2C-ICE ice water path (IWP) and total column water vapor (TCWV) mixing ratio to facilitate model evaluation and guide ice cloud parameterization improvement. Positive net cloud radiative heating rates are maximized in the upper troposphere for large IWPs and large TCWV, with an uncertainty of 10–25% in the magnitude and vertical structure of this heating.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3069-3088
Number of pages20
JournalClimate Dynamics
Issue number5-6
StatePublished - Sep 13 2019


  • Radiative heating rate profiles
  • Satellite remote sensing
  • Single-layered ice cloud properties

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science


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