. 24/7 Space News .
Ice shards in Antarctic clouds let more solar energy reach Earth's surface
by Staff Writers
Seattle WA (SPX) Apr 14, 2022

How ice behaves inside clouds affects the clouds' 3-D shape and how much sunlight is reflected back to space. Arrows at the top show that the cloud on the left reflects less sunlight (smaller arrow) than the cloud on the right, so more solar energy reaches the ocean's surface. On the left, a large rimer, or ice chunk (blue sunburst) attracts liquid water, which freezes and then shatters to create shards (blue rectangles). These shards grow as more water freezes to them, so shattering allows ice particles to grow in clouds at the expense of liquid drops. As these faster-growing, larger, ice shards fall (left side) less liquid water is left to spread out and disperse horizontally (right side).

Clouds come in myriad shapes, sizes and types, which control their effects on climate. New research led by the University of Washington shows that splintering of frozen liquid droplets to form ice shards inside Southern Ocean clouds dramatically affects the clouds' ability to reflect sunlight back to space.

The paper, published March 4 in the open-access journal AGU Advances, shows that including this ice-splintering process improves the ability of high-resolution global models to simulate clouds over the Southern Ocean - and thus the models' ability to simulate Earth's climate.

"Southern Ocean low clouds shouldn't be treated as liquid clouds," said lead author Rachel Atlas, a UW doctoral student in atmospheric sciences. "Ice formation in Southern Ocean low clouds has a substantial effect on the cloud properties and needs to be accounted for in global models."

Results show that it's important to include the process whereby icy particles collide with supercooled droplets of water causing them to freeze and then shatter, forming many more shards of ice. Doing so makes the clouds dimmer, or decreases their reflectance, allowing more sunlight to reach the ocean's surface.

The difference between including the details of ice formation inside the clouds versus not including them was 10 Watts per square meter between 45 degrees south and 65 degrees south in the summer, which is enough energy to have a significant effect on temperature.

The study used observations from a 2018 field campaign that flew through Southern Ocean clouds, as well as data from NASA's CERES satellite and the Japanese satellite Himawari-8.

Ice formation reduces clouds' reflectance because the ice particles form, grow and fall out of the cloud very efficiently.

"The ice crystals deplete much of the thinner cloud entirely, therefore reducing the horizontal coverage," Atlas said. "Ice crystals also deplete some of the liquid in the thick cores of the cloud. So the ice particles both reduce the cloud cover and dim the remaining cloud."

In February, which is summer in the Southern Ocean, about 90% of the skies are covered with clouds, and at least 25% of those clouds are affected by the type of ice formation that was the focus of the study. Getting clouds right, especially in the new models that use smaller grid spacing to include clouds and storms, is important for calculating how much solar radiation reaches Earth.

"The Southern Ocean is a massive global heat sink, but its ability to take heat from the atmosphere depends on the temperature structure of the upper ocean, which relates to the cloud cover," Atlas said.

Co-authors of the study are Chris Bretherton, a UW professor emeritus of atmospheric sciences now at the Allen Institute for AI in Seattle; Marat Khairoutdinov at Stony Brook University in New York; and Peter Blossey, a UW research scientist in atmospheric sciences. The research was funded by the National Science Foundation.

Research Report
Hallett-Mossop Rime Splintering Dims Cumulus Clouds Over the Southern Ocean: New Insight From Nudged Global Storm-Resolving Simulations

Related Links
University of Washington
Earth Observation News - Suppiliers, Technology and Application

Thanks for being there;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5+ Billed Monthly

paypal only
SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once

credit card or paypal

Methane emissions set another record in 2021, carbon dioxide also soars
Washington DC (UPI) Apr 7, 2021
Scientists said Thursday that methane emissions, the second biggest threat to human-caused global warming after carbon dioxide, rose again to a record level in 2021. Scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration based these findings on an analysis of data from their global sampling network. The preliminary analysis showed an annual increase of atmospheric methane in 2021 of 17 parts per billon, the largest increase since such measurements began in 1983. The p ... read more

Comment using your Disqus, Facebook, Google or Twitter login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Venice readies day-trip booking system to ease crowds

Safe ISS operation should remain priority, Space Foundation says

NASA sets coverage for Russian spacewalks

Space Perspective unveils luxurious balloon-launched spaceflight experience

Rocket Lab secures multi-launch contract with HawkEye 360

Flexible quantum sieve filters out the deuterium

Rocket Lab Breaks Ground on Neutron Production Complex in Wallops, Virginia

AFRL completes series of 1 newton ascent monopropellant thruster testing

Sols 3444-3445: The curious case of cross-cutting ridges

Digging into drill data takes perseverance

NASA and UAE to share Mars mission datasets

Sols 3442-3443: Deoch-an-Doris

Shenzhou 13 astronauts ready to return

Tianzhou 4's rocket arrives in Hainan

Tianzhou 2 re-enters Earth's atmosphere, mostly burns up

Shenzhou XIII astronauts prep for return

European Space Agency stops cooperation with Russian lunar missions

Intelsat supports programmers with cloud connect media

Race is on for China's first domestic satellite listed firm

US, Russia Should Cooperate on Leveraging Private Investment for Space Programs - Expert

Embracing ancient materials and 21st-century challenges

Smallest earthquakes ever detected in micron-scale metals

Kamala Harris announces U.S. ban on anti-satellite missile tests

Scientists have improved the composition of radiation protection glasses

Diverse life forms may have evolved earlier than previously thought

A Beacon in the Galaxy: Updated Arecibo Message for Potential FAST and SETI Projects

Hubble probes extreme weather on ultra-hot Jovian exoplanets

Cosmic SETI ready to stream data for technosignature research from Jansky VLA

Four billion-year-old relic from early solar system heading our way

ESO telescope captures surprising changes in Neptune's temperatures

17-year Neptune study reveals surprising temperature changes

A closer look at Jupiter's origin story

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2024 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Statement Our advertisers use various cookies and the like to deliver the best ad banner available at one time. All network advertising suppliers have GDPR policies (Legitimate Interest) that conform with EU regulations for data collection. By using our websites you consent to cookie based advertising. If you do not agree with this then you must stop using the websites from May 25, 2018. Privacy Statement. Additional information can be found here at About Us.