Short Name:

First ISCCP Regional Experiment (FIRE) Atlantic Stratocumulus Transition Experiment (ASTEX) University of Washington C-131A Aircraft Data

The First ISCCP Regional Experiments have been designed to improve data products and cloud/radiation parameterizations used in general circulation models (GCMs). Specifically, the goals of FIRE are (1) to improve basic understanding of the interaction of physical processes in determining life cycles of cirrus and marine stratocumulus systems and the radiative properties of these clouds during their life cycles and (2) to investigate the interrelationships between the ISCCP data, GCM parameterizations, and higher space and time resolution cloud data.To-date, four intensive field-observation periods were planned and executed: a cirrus IFO (October 13-November 2, 1986); a marine stratocumulus IFO off the southwestern coast of California (June 29-July 20, 1987); a second cirrus IFO in southeastern Kansas (November 13-December 7, 1991); and a second marine stratocumulus IFO in the eastern North Atlantic Ocean (June 1-June 28, 1992). Each mission combined coordinated satellite, airborne, and surface observations with modeling studies to investigate the cloud properties and physical processes of the cloud systems. The development of parameterizations requires an understanding of the processes that generate, maintain, and dissipate boundary layer clouds. This development is currently impeded by lack of understanding of the transition from stratocumulus clouds to trade cumulus clouds and the factors that control cloud type and amount in the boundary layer. The Atlantic Stratocumulus Transition EXperiment (ASTEX) was designed to address key issues related to stratocumulus to trade cumulus transition and mode selection. ASTEX involved intensive measurements from several platforms operating from 1-28 June 1992 in the area of the Azores and Madeira Islands. The purpose was to study how the transition and mode selection are effected by 1) cloud-top entrainment instability, 2) diurnal decoupling and clearing due to solar absorption, 3) patchy drizzle and a transition to horizontally inhomogeneous clouds through decoupling, 4) mesoscale variability in cloud thickness and associated mesoscale circulations, and 5) episodic strong subsidence lowering the inversion below the LCL. Detailed descriptions of the scientific goals of ASTEX are in the FIRE Phase II: Research plan (1989) and in the ASTEX Operations Plan (1992). The University of Washington Convair data are best considered raw at this point and should be validated by comparing with data collected from other platforms where possible if high accuracy is desired. Of the three measures of liquid water content available from the Convair, the Johnson-Williams (JW) hot-wire probe is considered the most readily usable, although there is a significant drift in the output that should be accounted for. The Forward Scattering Spectrometer Probe (FSSP) measured the liquid water content using optical scattering principles.

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