Cirrus clouds are high, thin, tropospheric clouds composed predominately of ice. In the last ten years, considerable work has shown that cirrus is widespread and more common than previously believed, and has a significant impact on climate and global change. As the next generation weather satellites are being designed, the impact of cirrus on remote sensing and the global energy budget must be recognized and accommodated. This book, the first to be devoted entirely to cirrus clouds, captures the state of knowledge of cirrus and serves as a practical handbook as well. Each chapter is based on an invited review talk presented at Cirrus, a meeting hosted by the Optical Society of America and co-sponsored by the American Geophysical Union and the American Meteorological Society. All aspects of cirrus clouds are covered, an approach that reaches into diverse fields.
Topics include: the definition of cirrus, cirrus climatologies, nucleation, evolution and dissipation, mixed-phase thermodynamics, crystallinity, orientation mechanisms, dynamics, scattering, radiative transfer, in situ sampling, processes that produce or influence cirrus (and vice versa), contrails, and the influence of cirrus on climate.