Spatial and temporal patterns of cloud cover and fog inundation in coastal California: Ecological implications

TitleSpatial and temporal patterns of cloud cover and fog inundation in coastal California: Ecological implications
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsRastogi B., Williams A.P, Fischer D.T, Iacobellis S.F, McEachern K., Carvalho L., Jones C., Baguskas S.A, Still C.J
JournalEarth Interactions
Volume20
Date Published2016/05
Type of ArticleArticle
ISBN Number1087-3562
Accession NumberWOS:000377036200001
KeywordsAtmosphere-ocean interaction; Atmosphere/ocean structure/phenomena; Circulation/dynamics; Cloud cover; fog; foliar uptake; modis data; Observational; pine; plant; Radiosonde observations; redwood forest; region; Remote sensing; santa-barbara channel; summer fog; techniques and algorithms; Vegetation; water; west-coast
Abstract

The presence of low-lying stratocumulus clouds and fog has been known to modify biophysical and ecological properties in coastal California where forests are frequently shaded by low-lying clouds or immersed in fog during otherwise warm and dry summer months. Summer fog and stratus can ameliorate summer drought stress and enhance soil water budgets and often have different spatial and temporal patterns. Here, this study uses remote sensing datasets to characterize the spatial and temporal patterns of cloud cover over California's northern Channel Islands. The authors found marine stratus to be persistent from May to September across the years 2001-12. Stratus clouds were both most frequent and had the greatest spatial extent in July. Clouds typically formed in the evening and dissipated by the following early afternoon. This study presents a novel method to downscale satellite imagery using atmospheric observations and discriminate patterns of fog from those of stratus and help explain patterns of fog deposition previously studied on the islands. The outcomes of this study contribute significantly to the ability to quantify the occurrence of coastal fog at biologically meaningful spatial and temporal scales that can improve the understanding of cloud-ecosystem interactions, species distributions, and coastal ecohydrology.

DOI10.1175/ei-d-15-0033.1
Short TitleEarth Interact.
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