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Seasonal and annual segregation of liquid water and ice clouds in Iran and their relation to geographic components and precipitation

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Efficient and proper understanding of the state of the clouds regarding different seasons of the year will have profound effects on different economic and environmental sectors. The purpose of this study is to determine the hourly dissociation of ice and liquid clouds in Iran. To this end, cloud optical thickness (COT) data, as well as optical depth of clouds in two phases of liquid and ice were obtained and processed from 31 synoptic meteorological stations (1960–2015), MODIS data from Terra satellite during the years 2001 to 2011, and they were processed then. Next, using the RegCM4 model, the cloud fraction (clt) was simulated to accurately identify the cloud cover situation in Iran. The results showed that the maximum annual mean abundance of liquid and ice clouds was 18.95 days for the time 15:00 and 3.99 days for the time 06:00, respectively. Climatic zones of the Caspian and Persian Gulf coasts at 15 o’clock had the highest decreasing trend of liquid clouds. Ice clouds in all parts of Iran’s climate, with the exception of the eastern plateau, also declined. From south to north and east to west of Iran, the occurrence of ice and liquid clouds is increasing. Therefore, the spatio-temporal distribution of liquid and ice clouds in the country was also dependent on spatial components and latitude had the greatest impact. From the satellite and modeled data, the RegCM4 model has been able to detect the Monsoon phenomenon in southeastern Iran during the summer. CLT simulation in Iran has also shown that cloud cover in Iran fluctuates between 28 and 65% on average, with 81.5% of Iranian stations having a significant change in the amount of annual cloud cover. Correlation of liquid and ice clouds with precipitation showed that liquid clouds in summer and ice clouds in spring had higher correlation with precipitation in Iran. Northern coasts of Iran due to greater ascent mechanisms such as coastal compressors, north latitude atmospheric circulation systems, and maximum winds in the north and west of Iran due to the location of western systems entry and sufficient thermal gradient, had maximum ice clouds in the last half century. Also, south of Iran, despite having extended and great water-bodies, is less cloudy due to descending air in Hadley’s circulation (Hadley cell) of air.

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The authors thank the Islamic Republic of Iran Meteorological Organization (IRIMO) for providing timely precipitation and long-term cloud data in Iran. We also acknowledge the MODIS mission scientists and associated NASA personnel for the production of the data used in this research effort.

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Correspondence to Mahmoud Ahmadi.

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Ahmadi, M., Dadashi-Roudbari, A., Akbari-Azirani, T. et al. Seasonal and annual segregation of liquid water and ice clouds in Iran and their relation to geographic components and precipitation. Theor Appl Climatol (2020).

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