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2002 .

(1 publication)

R. Roca, M. Viollier, L. Picon, and M. Desbois. A multisatellite analysis of deep convection and its moist environment over the Indian Ocean during the winter monsoon. Journal of Geophysical Research (Atmospheres), 107:8012, August 2002. [ bib | DOI | ADS link ]

The aim of this paper is to characterize the deep convective systems over the Indian Ocean during Indian Ocean Experiment (INDOEX) and their relationship to cloudiness and to the Upper Tropospheric Humidity (UTH) of their environment together with the relevant longwave radiation fields. Multisatellite analyses are performed (Meteosat, Scanner for Radiation Budget (ScaRaB), and Special Sensor Microwave Imager (SSM/I)) to measure these environmental parameters. The use of Meteosat water vapor (WV) channel appears very efficient not only for estimating UTH but also for separating high level cloudiness, including thin cirrus, from clear sky and low clouds. The Meteosat infrared (IR) and WV channels are also used for correlating Meteosat and ScaRaB measurements, allowing to retrieve continuously the longwave radiative flux. The longwave flux is used to compute the cloud radiative forcing as well as the clear-sky greenhouse effect. Spatial relationships between upper level cloudiness and UTH are established. A strong positive linear relationship is found suggesting a local moistening of the upper troposphere by convection. The temporal analysis reveals that during the active phase of the intraseasonal oscillation, the longwave cloud radiative forcing reaches a mean value up to 40 W m-2 over a large region in the open ocean, while the average clear-sky greenhouse effect is in excess of 180 W m-2. These radiative parameters are strongly correlated with the upper level cloudiness and upper level moisture, respectively. The temporal variability of UTH explains up to 80% of the greenhouse effect variability. The structure of the convective cloud systems is then studied. The observed population of systems spans a wide spectrum of area from 100 to 1,000,000 km2. The contribution to the high level cloudiness of the systems with a strong vertical development is dominant. These systems, with at least one convective cell reaching the highest levels (below 210 K), present indices of overshooting tops and are the most horizontally extended. The largest system exhibits an average longwave radiative forcing of around 100 W m-2. Their contribution to the cloud forcing over the Indian Ocean is overwhelming. The spatial and temporal variability of the systems is finally related to the UTH and to the clear-sky greenhouse effect. Strong correlations are found indicating that these organized convective systems at mesoscale play a leading role in the Indian Ocean climate. The analysis suggests that deeper convection is associated with larger cloud desks with larger cloud radiative forcing. It is also associated with a moister upper troposphere and a larger clear-sky greenhouse effect. These two effects would provide a positive feedback on the surface conditions.

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