Characterizing Arctic mixed-phase cloud structure and its relationship with humidity and temperature inversion using ARM NSA observations

Shaoyue Qiu, Xiquan Dong, Baike Xi, J. L.F. Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


In this study, the characteristics of the Arctic mixed-phase cloud (AMC) have been investigated using data collected at the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement North Slope Alaska site from October 2006 to September 2009. AMC has an annual occurrence frequency of 42.3%, which includes 18.7% of single-layered AMCs and 23.6% for multiple layers. Two cloud base heights (CBHs) are defined fromceilometer and micropulse lidar (MPL) measurements. For single-layered AMC, the ceilometer-derived CBH represents the base of the liquid-dominant layer near the cloud top, while MPL-derived CBH represents base of the lower ice-dominant layer. The annual mean CBHs from ceilometer and MPL measurements are 1.0 km and 0.6 km, respectively, with the largest difference (~1.0 km) occurring from December to March and the smallest difference in September. The humidity inversion occurrence decreases with increasing humidity inversion intensity (stronger in summer than in winter). During the winter months, AMC occurrences increase from 15% to 35% when the inversion intensity increases from 0.1 to 0.9 g/kg. On the contrary, despite a higher frequency of strong humidity inversion in summer, AMC occurrences are nearly invariant for different inversion intensities. On average, humidity and temperature inversion frequencies of occurrence above an AMC are 5 and 8 times, respectively, as high as those below an AMC. The strong inversion occurrences for both humidity and temperature above an AMC provide the moisture sources from above for the formation and maintenance of AMCs. This result helps to reconcile the persistency of AMCs even when the Arctic surface is covered by snow and ice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7737-7746
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of geophysical research
Issue number15
StatePublished - 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Forestry
  • Oceanography
  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Soil Science
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Palaeontology


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