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Thin and Subvisible Cirrus and Contrails in a Subsaturated Environment : Volume 10, Issue 12 (22/12/2010)

By Kübbeler, M.

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Book Id: WPLBN0003977489
Format Type: PDF Article :
File Size: Pages 34
Reproduction Date: 2015

Title: Thin and Subvisible Cirrus and Contrails in a Subsaturated Environment : Volume 10, Issue 12 (22/12/2010)  
Author: Kübbeler, M.
Volume: Vol. 10, Issue 12
Language: English
Subject: Science, Atmospheric, Chemistry
Collections: Periodicals: Journal and Magazine Collection (Contemporary), Copernicus GmbH
Publication Date:
Publisher: Copernicus Gmbh, Göttingen, Germany
Member Page: Copernicus Publications


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Gayet, J., Meyer, J., Schiller, C., Krämer, M., Schumann, U., Voigt, C.,...Petzold, A. (2010). Thin and Subvisible Cirrus and Contrails in a Subsaturated Environment : Volume 10, Issue 12 (22/12/2010). Retrieved from

Description: Forschungszentrum Jülich, Inst. for Energy and Climate Research, IEK-7, Jülich, Germany. 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 embedded 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.

Thin and subvisible cirrus and contrails in a subsaturated environment

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