Cloud phase and macrophysical properties over the Southern Ocean during the MARCUS field campaign

Baike Xi, Xiquan Dong, Xiaojian Zheng, Peng Wu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


To investigate the cloud phase and macrophysical properties over the Southern Ocean (SO), the Department of Energy (DOE) Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) Mobile Facility (AMF2) was installed on the Australian icebreaker research vessel (R/V) Aurora Australis during the Measurements of Aerosols, Radiation, and Clouds over the Southern Ocean (MARCUS) field campaign (41 to 69°S, 60 to 160°E) from October 2017 to March 2018. To examine cloud properties over the midlatitude and polar regions, the study domain is separated into the northern (NSO) and southern (SSO) parts of the SO, with a demarcation line of 60°S. The total cloud fractions (CFs) were 77.9%, 67.6%, and 90.3% for the entire domain, NSO and SSO, respectively, indicating that higher CFs were observed in the polar region. Low-level clouds and deep convective clouds are the two most common cloud types over the SO. A new method was developed to classify liquid, mixed-phase, and ice clouds in single-layered, low-level clouds (LOW), where mixed-phase clouds dominate with an occurrence frequency (Freq) of 54.5%, while the Freqs of the liquid and ice clouds were 10.1% (most drizzling) and 17.4% (least drizzling). The meridional distributions of low-level cloud boundaries are nearly independent of latitude, whereas the cloud temperatures increased by ∼1/48K, and atmospheric precipitable water vapor increased from ∼1/45mm at 69°S to ∼1/418mm at 43°S. The mean cloud liquid water paths over NSO were much larger than those over SSO. Most liquid clouds occurred over NSO, with very few over SSO, whereas more mixed-phase clouds occurred over SSO than over NSO. There were no significant differences for the ice cloud Freq between NSO and SSO. The ice particle sizes are comparable to cloud droplets and drizzle drops and well mixed in the cloud layer. These results will be valuable for advancing our understanding of the meridional and vertical distributions of clouds and can be used to improve model simulations over the SO.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3761-3777
Number of pages17
JournalAtmospheric Measurement Techniques
Issue number12
StatePublished - Jun 23 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science


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