Super-cooled liquid fogs over the central Greenland ice sheet Journal Article uri icon



  • Abstract. Radiation fogs at Summit, Greenland (72.58° N, 38.48° W, 3210 masl) are frequently reported by observers. The fogs are often accompanied by fogbows, indicating the particles are composed of liquid and because of the low temperatures at Summit, this liquid is super-cooled. Here we analyse the formation of these fogs as well as their physical and radiative properties. In situ observations of particle size and droplet number concentration were made using scattering spectrometers near 2 m and 10 m height from 2012 to 2014. These data are complemented by co-located observations of meteorology, turbulent and radiative fluxes, and remote sensing. We find that liquid fogs occur in all seasons with the highest frequency in September and a minimum in April. Due to the characteristics of the boundary-layer meteorology, the fogs are elevated, forming between 2 m and 10 m and the particles then fall toward the surface. The diameter of mature particles is typically 20–25 μm in summer. Number concentrations are higher at warmer temperatures and, thus, higher in summer compared to winter. The fogs form at temperatures as warm as warm as −5 °C, while the coldest form at temperatures approaching −40 °C. Facilitated by the elevated condensation, in winter 2/3 of fogs occurred within a relatively warm layer above the surface when the near-surface air is below −40 °C, as cold as −57 °C, which is well below that which can support liquid water. This implies that fog particles settling through this layer of cold air freeze in the air column before contacting the surface, thereby accumulating at the surface as ice without riming. Liquid fogs under otherwise clear skies impart annually 1.5 W m−2 of cloud radiative forcing (CRF). While this is a relatively small contribution to the surface radiation climatology, individual events are influential. The mean CRF during liquid fog events is 26 W m−2, but can sometimes be much higher. An extreme case study was observed to radiatively force 5 °C of surface warming during the coldest part of the day, effectively damping the diurnal cycle. At lower elevations of the ice sheet where melting is more common, such damping could signal a role for fogs in preconditioning the surface for melting later in the day.;

publication date

  • October 17, 2018

has restriction

  • green

Date in CU Experts

  • June 3, 2021 10:01 AM

Full Author List

  • Cox CJ; Noone DC; Berkelhammer M; Shupe MD; Neff WD; Miller NB; Walden VP; Steffen K

author count

  • 8

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