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Thin and subvisible cirrus and contrails in a subsaturated environment

Kübbeler, M. and Hildebrandt, M. and Meyer, J. and Schiller, C. and Hamburger, T. and Jurkat, T. and Minikin, A. and Petzold, A. and Rautenhaus, M. and Schlager, H. and Schumann, U. and Voigt, C. and Spichtinger, P. and Gayet, J.-F. and Gourbeyre, C. and Krämer, M. (2011) Thin and subvisible cirrus and contrails in a subsaturated environment. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, 11, pp. 5853-5865. DOI: 10.5194/acp-11-5853-2011.

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The frequency of occurrence of cirrus clouds and contrails, their life time, ice crystal size spectra and thus their radiative properties depend strongly on the ambient distribution of the relative humidity with respect to ice (RHice). Ice clouds do not form below a certain supersaturation and both cirrus and contrails need at least saturation conditions to persist over a longer period. Under subsaturated conditions, cirrus and contrails should dissipate. During the mid-latitude aircraft experiment CONCERT 2008 (CONtrail and Cirrus ExpeRimenT), RHice and ice crystals were measured in cirrus and contrails. Here, we present results from 2.3/1.7 h of observation in cirrus/contrails during 6 flights. Thin and subvisible cirrus with contrails mbedded therein have been detected frequently in a subsaturated environment. Nevertheless, ice crystals up to radii of 50 μm and larger, but with low number densities were often observed inside the contrails as well as in the cirrus. Analysis of the meteorological situation indicates that the crystals in the contrails were entrained from the thin/subvisible cirrus clouds, which emerged in frontal systems with low updrafts. From model simulations of cirrus evaporation times it follows that such thin/subvisible cirrus can exist for time periods of a couple of hours and longer in a subsaturated environment and thus may represent a considerable part of the cirrus coverage.

Document Type:Article
Title:Thin and subvisible cirrus and contrails in a subsaturated environment
AuthorsInstitution or Email of Authors
Kübbeler, M.FZ Jülich
Hildebrandt, M.FZ Jülich
Meyer, J.FZ Jülich
Schiller, C.FZ Jülich
Hamburger, T.FZ Jülich
Jurkat, T.DLR
Minikin, A.DLR
Petzold, A.DLR
Rautenhaus, M.DLR
Schlager, H.DLR
Schumann, U.DLR
Voigt, C.DLR
Spichtinger, P.Univ. Mainz
Gayet, J.-F.Univ. Blaise Pascal, Clermont-Ferrand, F
Gourbeyre, C.Univ. Blaise Pascal, Clermont-Ferrand, F
Krämer, M.DLR
Journal or Publication Title:Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics
Refereed publication:Yes
In Open Access:Yes
In ISI Web of Science:Yes
Page Range:pp. 5853-5865
Keywords:cirrus clouds, ice crystal size spectra, CONCERT 2008
HGF - Research field:Aeronautics, Space and Transport
HGF - Program:Aeronautics
HGF - Program Themes:ATM and Operation
DLR - Research area:Aeronautics
DLR - Program:L AO - Air Traffic Management and Operation
DLR - Research theme (Project):L - Climate, Weather and Environment
Location: Oberpfaffenhofen
Institutes and Institutions:Institute of Atmospheric Physics > Atmospheric Trace Species
Deposited By: Jana Freund
Deposited On:04 Jan 2011 10:50
Last Modified:12 Dec 2013 21:11

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