31 Aug 2023
 | 31 Aug 2023
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal ESSD.

DCMEX coordinated aircraft and ground observations: Microphysics, aerosol and dynamics during cumulonimbus development

Declan L. Finney, Alan M. Blyth, Martin Gallagher, Huihui Wu, Graeme Nott, Mike Biggerstaff, Richard G. Sonnenfeld, Martin Daily, Dan Walker, David Dufton, Keith Bower, Steven Boeing, Thomas Choularton, Jonathan Crosier, James Groves, Paul R. Field, Hugh Coe, Benjamin J. Murray, Gary Lloyd, Nicholas A. Marsden, Michael Flynn, Kezhen Hu, Naveneeth M. Thamban, Paul I. Williams, James B. McQuaid, Joseph Robinson, Gordon Carrie, Robert Moore, Graydon Aulich, Ralph R. Burton, and Paul J. Connolly

Abstract. Sensitivity of global temperature to rising CO2 remains highly uncertain. One of the greatest sources of uncertainty arises from cloud feedbacks associated with deep convective anvils. For deep convective clouds, their growth and characteristics are substantially controlled by mixed-phase microphysical processes. However, there remain several questions about cloud microphysical processes, especially in deep, mixed-phase clouds. Meanwhile, the representation of these processes in global climate models is limited. As such, the Deep Convective Microphysics Experiment (DCMEX) has undertaken an in-situ aircraft and ground-based measurement campaign. The data, combined with operational satellite observations and modelling, will help establish new understanding from the smallest, cloud and aerosol particle scales through to the largest, cloud-system and climate scales. DCMEX is one of four projects in the UK Natural Environment Research Council, Uncertainty in climate sensitivity due to clouds, CloudSense programme. Along with other CloudSense projects, DCMEX will support progress in reducing the uncertainty in cloud feedbacks and equilibrium climate sensitivity. This paper lays out the underpinning dataset from the DCMEX summer 2022 field campaign. Its content describes the coordinated operation and technical details of the broad range of aerosol, cloud physics, radar, thermodynamics, dynamics, electric field and weather instruments deployed. In addition, an overview of the characteristics of campaign cases illustrates the complementary operational observations available, as well as demonstrating the breadth of the campaign cases observed.

Declan L. Finney et al.

Status: open (until 07 Oct 2023)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse

Declan L. Finney et al.

Data sets

DCMEX ground based radar data G. D. Carrie, M. I. Biggerstaff, and R. W. Moore

DCMEX: in-situ airborne observations by the FAAM BAE-146 aircraft Facility for Airborne Atmospheric Measurements

Video supplement

Timelapse footage of deep convective clouds in New Mexico produced during the DCMEX field campaign Declan Finney, Alan Blyth, David Dufton, Robert Moore, James Groves, and Dan Walker

Declan L. Finney et al.


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Short summary
Deep convective clouds are a source of large uncertainty in predictions of surface temperature response to carbon dioxide. It is the effect of clouds on incoming sunlight and outgoing heat that matters. The DCMEX 2022 campaign in New Mexico collected data with an aircraft, radars, and other instruments. They give new detail on the role of aerosol and cloud ice in cloud formation. Combined with satellite data, the dataset can be used to explore the cloud impact on sunlight and heat.