Clouds, Precipitation, and Marine Boundary Layer Structure during the MAGIC Field Campaign Journal Article uri icon



  • Abstract; The recent ship-based Marine ARM GCSS Pacific Cross-Section Intercomparison (GPCI) Investigation of Clouds (MAGIC) field campaign with the marine-capable Second ARM Mobile Facility (AMF2) deployed on the Horizon Lines cargo container M/V Spirit provided nearly 200 days of intraseasonal high-resolution observations of clouds, precipitation, and marine boundary layer (MBL) structure on multiple legs between Los Angeles, California, and Honolulu, Hawaii. During the deployment, MBL clouds exhibited a much higher frequency of occurrence than other cloud types and occurred more often in the warm season than in the cold season. MBL clouds demonstrated a propensity to produce precipitation, which often evaporated before reaching the ocean surface. The formation of stratocumulus is strongly correlated to a shallow MBL with a strong inversion and a weak transition, while cumulus formation is associated with a much weaker inversion and stronger transition. The estimated inversion strength is shown to depend seasonally on the potential temperature at 700 hPa. The location of the commencement of systematic MBL decoupling always occurred eastward of the locations of cloud breakup, and the systematic decoupling showed a strong moisture stratification. The entrainment of the dry warm air above the inversion appears to be the dominant factor triggering the systematic decoupling, while surface latent heat flux, precipitation, and diurnal circulation did not play major roles. MBL clouds broke up over a short spatial region due to the changes in the synoptic conditions, implying that in real atmospheric conditions the MBL clouds do not have enough time to evolve as in the idealized models.

publication date

  • March 15, 2015

Date in CU Experts

  • June 29, 2021 4:10 AM

Full Author List

  • Zhou X; Kollias P; Lewis ER

author count

  • 3

Other Profiles

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0894-8755

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1520-0442

Additional Document Info

start page

  • 2420

end page

  • 2442


  • 28


  • 6