The effect of smoke, dust, and pollution aerosol on shallow cloud development over the Atlantic Ocean
ABSTRACT Clouds developing in a polluted environment tend to have more numerous but smaller droplets. This property may lead to suppression of precipitation and longer cloud lifetime. Absorption of incoming solar radiation by aerosols, however, can reduce the cloud cover. The net aerosol effect on clouds is currently the largest uncertainty in evaluating climate forcing. Using large statistics of 1-km resolution MODIS (Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer) satellite data, we study the aerosol effect on shallow water clouds, separately in four regions of the Atlantic Ocean, for June through August 2002: marine aerosol (30 degrees S-20 degrees S), smoke (20 degrees S-5 degrees N), mineral dust (5 degrees N-25 degrees N), and pollution aerosols (30 degrees N- 60 degrees N). All four aerosol types affect the cloud droplet size. We also find that the coverage of shallow clouds increases in all of the cases by 0.2-0.4 from clean to polluted, smoky, or dusty conditions. Covariability analysis with meteorological parameters associates most of this change to aerosol, for each of the four regions and 3 months studied. In our opinion, there is low probability that the net aerosol effect can be explained by coincidental, unresolved, changes in meteorological conditions that also accumulate aerosol, or errors in the data, although further in situ measurements and model developments are needed to fully understand the processes. The radiative effect at the top of the atmosphere incurred by the aerosol effect on the shallow clouds and solar radiation is -11 +/- 3 W/m2 for the 3 months studied; 2/3 of it is due to the aerosol-induced cloud changes, and 1/3 is due to aerosol direct radiative effect.
SourceAvailable from: Sheeba Afsar[Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: In this study, aerosols spatial, seasonal and temporal variations over Sindh, Pakistan were analyzed which can lead to variations in the microphysics of clouds as well. All cloud optical properties were analyzed using Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) data for 12 years from 2001 to 2013. We also monitored origin and movements of air masses that bring aerosol particles and may be considered as the natural source of aerosol particles in the region. For this purpose, the Hybrid Single Particle Lagrangian Integrated Trajectory (HYSPLIT) model was used to make trajectories of these air masses from their sources. Aerosol optical depth (AOD) high values were observed in summer during the monsoon period (June–August). The highest AOD values in July were recorded ranges from 0.41 to 1.46. In addition, low AOD values were found in winter season (December–February) particularly in December, ranges from 0.16 to 0.69. We then analyzed the relationship between AOD and Ångström exponent that is a good indicator of the size of an aerosol particle. We further described the relationships of AOD and four cloud parameters, namely water vapor (WV), cloud fraction (CF), cloud top temperature (CTT) and cloud top pressure (CTP) by producing regional correlation maps of their data values. The analyses showed negative correlation between AOD and Ångström exponent especially in central and western Sindh. The correlation between AOD and WV was throughout positive with high correlation values > 0.74 in whole Sindh except eastern most arid strip of the Thar Desert in the region. The correlation between AOD and CF was positive in southern Sindh and goes to negative in northern Sindh. AOD showed a positive correlation with CTP and CTT in northern Sindh and a negative correlation in southern Sindh. All these correlations were observed to be dependent on the meteorological conditions for all of the ten sites investigated.Aerosol and Air Quality Research 01/2015; 15:657-672. · 2.66 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: How do changes in the amount and properties of aerosol affect warm clouds? Recent studies suggest that they have opposing effects. Some suggest that an increase in aerosol loading leads to enhanced evaporation and therefore smaller clouds, whereas other studies suggest clouds' invigo-ration. In this study, using an axisymmetric bin-microphysics cloud model, we propose a theoretical scheme that analyzes the evolution of key processes in warm clouds, under different aerosol loading and environmental conditions, to explain this contradiction. Such an analysis of the key processes reveals a robust reversal in the trend of the clouds' response to an increase in aerosol loading. When aerosol conditions are shifted from superpristine to slightly polluted, the clouds formed are deeper and have larger water mass. Such a trend continues up to an optimal concentration (N op) that allows the cloud to achieve a maximal water mass. Hence, for any concentration below N op the cloud formed contains less mass and therefore can be considered as aerosol-limited, whereas for concentrations greater than N op cloud periphery processes, such as enhanced entrainment and evaporation, take over leading to cloud suppression. We show that N op is a function of the thermodynamic conditions (temperature and humidity profiles). Thus, profiles that favor deeper clouds would dictate larger values of N op , whereas for profiles of shallow con-vective clouds, N op corresponds to the pristine range of the aerosol loading. Such a view of a trend reversal, marked by the optimal concentration, N op , helps one to bridge the gap between the contradictory results of numerical models and observations. Satellite studies are biased in favor of larger clouds that are characterized by larger N op values and therefore invigoration is observed. On the other hand, modeling studies of cloud fields are biased in favor of small, mostly trade-like convec-tive clouds, which are characterized by low N op values (in the pristine range) and, therefore, cloud suppression is mostly reported as a response to an increase in aerosol loading.Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics 01/2015; 15(5):2749-2760. DOI:10.5194/acp-15-2749-2015 · 5.51 Impact Factor