DOI: 10.3390/rs15235542 ISSN: 2072-4292

A Satellite Observational Study of Topographical Effects on Daytime Shallow Convective Clouds

Guoqiang Xu, Shizuo Fu, Jane Liu, Rong Shang, Yuanyuan Luo
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences

Shallow convective clouds (SCCs) frequently occur over mountainous terrain. However, previous studies have mostly focused on SCCs over flat surfaces. Here, the effects of mountainous terrains on the cloud size distributions (CSDs) and spatial distributions of SCCs are investigated using data obtained from the Landsat-8 satellite. We find that the CSDs are well-described by double power laws separated by scale breaks. The CSDs are controlled by two parameters, i.e., the scale breaks and the number of clouds with sizes between 0.2 and 1 times the scale breaks. We also find that the number of clouds generally increases with the elevation. In particular, the number of clouds larger than the scale breaks increases faster than that of the smaller clouds. The sizes of the larger clouds (the 90th and 95th percentiles) increase with the elevation, while the sizes of the smaller clouds are not sensitive to the elevation. It is suggested that the variations of cloud numbers and sizes with elevation should be used together with the CSDs to describe the cloud fields over mountainous terrains.

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