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<p>Tropical deep connective clouds (DCCs) have large top of atmosphere (ToA) cloud radiative effects (CREs) in both the shortwave (SW) and longwave (LW), which both have average magnitudes of greater than 100 Wm<sup>-2</sup>. Due to the opposite sign of the two components, the overall ToA CRE is generally assumed to average to approximately 0 Wm<sup>-2</sup>. Although there are a number of mechanisms that contribute to this balance, the fact that the daytime only SW CRE balances with the LW CRE indicates that the diurnal lifecycle of DCCs is a key component of this balance. Understanding how the diurnal cycle of DCCs influences their CRE is vital for understanding how any changes in their diurnal cycle of these clouds may influence the climate.</p> <p> </p> <p>A year-long dataset of retrieved cloud properties and derived broadband radiative fluxes has been produced by the ESA Cloud CCI project using temporally highly resolved satellite observations. Using a novel method, we are able to detect and track both isolated DCCs and large, mesoscale convective systems (MCSs) over their entire lifecycle. We explicitly retrieve the cloud properties and CREs of DCCs over Africa, and how these properties change over the lifecycle of approximately 100,000 observed clouds. We find that the mean anvil SW CRE greatly varies depending on the initiation time of day and the lifetime of the DCC, whereas the LW CRE is consistent throughout the diurnal cycle and varies primarily with cloud top temperature.</p> <p> </p> <p>As a result of our study we can confirm that the mean observed ToA CRE of all DCCs (integrated over area and lifetime) is indeed approximately 0 Wm<sup>-2</sup>, but very few DCCs individually have mean CREs near this value. Instead, we find that DCCs occurring during the daytime have a large cooling effect, and those at nighttime have a warming effect, resulting in a bimodal distribution. While MCSs make the largest contribution to the overall effect due to their large areas and lifetimes, because they tend to exist during both nighttime and daytime the overall magnitude of their ToA CREs tend to be smaller than those of isolated DCCs. As a result, factors which influence the diurnal cycle of deep convection – such as changes in CAPE generation or convective inhibition – may have a more important influence on the properties of isolated DCCs rather than larger MCSs.</p>

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