عنوان مقاله [English]
Cloud is a special phenomenon formed by dynamic and thermodynamic changes of the general atmospheric circulation. Through dispersion and reflection of solar radiation, cloudschange energy balance of the Earth and affect its hydrologic cycleby producing rainfall in various forms. Determining the state of clouds (in terms of clouds being liquid or ice) is crucial, sinceitaffects the atmosphere feedback mechanism. Moreover, the state of clouds is related with itsheight, i.e., higher clouds tend to have an icy state. Therefore, determiningtheir statusis especially important for the accuracy of elevation estimation. The present study seeks toinvestigatetemporal and spatial variation of liquid clouds in the geographical range of Iran using information received from meteorological stations and remote sensing techniques. It aims to find the feedback of cloudsin liquid phase and theirdominant condition.
Data received from MODIS Sensor of TERRA Satellite (2001-2015) and Cloud mask (CM) algorithm were used in the present study. Moreover, long-term data of 31 synoptic meteorological stations collected during the period of 1960–2015 were used to compare satellite data. Followingdata decoding and required calculations, maps of each season were produced using Kriging method.
Results and discussion
Results indicate that maximum number of liquid clouds occurs in winter, while their minimum number occurs in summer. In winter, Rasht, Ramsar, Babolsar and Gorgan stations (with cumulative frequency of 174.33 to 305.66 days) have maximum frequency of liquid clouds.This country almost lacks liquid clouds in summer. Only in the coastal zone of the Caspian Sea, Rasht, Ramsar, Babolsar and Gorganstations with 153, 93.33, 77.66 and 26 days, respectively,had the maximum frequency of liquid clouds. The average thickness of liquid clouds in Iran was calculated on a seasonal scale. In winter, spring, summer and autumn, it was 22.23, 17.13, 14.11 and 16.7 microns, respectively. Results indicate that the average thickness of liquid clouds decreases in warm seasons. Maximum thickness of liquid clouds in winter, spring, summer and autumn was 33.04, 24.56, 24.85, 22.84 and minimum thickness of liquid clouds was 13.98, 6.82, 6.27, 8.09, respectively. In winter,maximum frequency of liquid clouds occurred in western Iran and the Caspian coastline, while maximum thickness of liquid clouds occurredin northwestern and western Iran.Moving from north to south and west to east,the frequency of liquid and icy clouds decreases. In contrast, maximum frequency of liquid clouds occurs in summer.
Results indicated that maximum frequency of winter and autumn liquid clouds mainly occur in high latitudes of northern regions, southern hillside of Alborz(west to east direction), and northwestern and western regions of the country. Maximum frequency of summer liquid clouds occurs in the Caspian Coasts, while maximum frequency of spring liquid clouds occursin the northern half and southeast regions of the country. This is well-justified due toactivities of the expected systems and local factors in each season. Liquid clouds of Iran have a nonlinear and possibly complex relationship, and factors such as hillside orientation, precipitation systems, distance from sources ofmoisture, lack of ascending factor, lack of sufficient moisture and many other factors contribute to this relationship.Evaluation of liquid clouds thickness indicated that elevated regions of central and western Zagros have the highest amount of liquid clouds in cold seasons, since low-pressure systems, fronts and mid-latitudewaves of atmosphere play a decisive role in the growthof cloud numbers in these seasons. This is also in consistencywith Masoudian (2011) results. Northwestern Iran and the Alborz belt are almost always affected by the western winds. Western winds pass over the Mediterranean Sea and its sufficient moisture resource, which play a significant role in the cloudiness of this area. Results are consistent with Alijani’sstudy(2010) that reported 120 cloudy days in Alborz Mountains, Khorasan and northern Azerbaijan altitudes. Increased cloudiness of southern and southeastern Iran during warm seasons is related with the monsoon system in July-September,which is also confirmed by Ghasemifar et al. (2018) and its mechanism is discussed by Yadva (2016). Results are also in consistency with the results of Ahmadi et al. (2018), which examined the cloud optical thickness (COT) and the total cloud cover (TCC) of Iran. In other words, results of Ahmadi et al.(2018) also confirm our findings.