Cloud System Evolution in the Trades-CSET: Following the Evolution of Boundary Layer Cloud Systems with the NSF/NCAR GV.
ABSTRACT: The Cloud System Evolution in the Trades (CSET) study was designed to describe and explain the evolution of the boundary layer aerosol, cloud, and thermodynamic structures along trajectories within the north-Pacific trade-winds. The study centered on 7 round-trips of the NSF NCAR Gulfstream V (GV) between Sacramento, CA and Kona, Hawaii between 1 July and 15 August 2015. The CSET observing strategy was to sample aerosol, cloud, and boundary layer properties upwind from the transition zone over the North Pacific and to resample these areas two days later. GFS forecast trajectories were used to plan the outbound flight to Hawaii with updated forecast trajectories setting the return flight plan two days later. Two key elements of the CSET observing system were the newly developed HIAPER Cloud Radar (HCR) and the High Spectral Resolution Lidar (HSRL). Together they provided unprecedented characterizations of aerosol, cloud and precipitation structures that were combined with in situ measurements of aerosol, cloud, precipitation, and turbulence properties. The cloud systems sampled included solid stratocumulus infused with smoke from Canadian wildfires, mesoscale cloud-precipitation complexes, and patches of shallow cumuli in very clean environments. Ultra-clean layers observed frequently near the top of the boundary layer were often associated with shallow, optically thin, layered veil clouds. The extensive aerosol, cloud, drizzle and boundary layer sampling made over open areas of the Northeast Pacific along 2-day trajectories during CSET is unprecedented and will enable modeling studies of boundary layer cloud system evolution and the role of different processes in that evolution.
Project description:We show that the aerosol-cloud-precipitation system exhibits characteristics of the predator-prey problem in the field of population dynamics. Both a detailed large eddy simulation of the dynamics and microphysics of a precipitating shallow boundary layer cloud system and a simpler model built upon basic physical principles, reproduce predator-prey behavior with rain acting as the predator and cloud as the prey. The aerosol is shown to modulate the predator-prey response. Steady-state solution to the proposed model shows the known existence of bistability in cloudiness. Three regimes are identified in the time-dependent solutions: (i) the weakly precipitating regime where cloud and rain coexist in a quasi steady state; (ii) the moderately drizzling regime where limit-cycle behavior in the cloud and rain fields is produced; and (iii) the heavily precipitating clouds where collapse of the boundary layer is predicted. The manifestation of predator-prey behavior in the aerosol-cloud-precipitation system is a further example of the self-organizing properties of the system and suggests that exploiting principles of population dynamics may help reduce complex aerosol-cloud-rain interactions to a more tractable problem.
Project description:Quantifying the aerosol/cloud-mediated radiative effect at a global scale requires simultaneous satellite retrievals of cloud condensation nuclei (CCN) concentrations and cloud base updraft velocities (Wb). Hitherto, the inability to do so has been a major cause of high uncertainty regarding anthropogenic aerosol/cloud-mediated radiative forcing. This can be addressed by the emerging capability of estimating CCN and Wb of boundary layer convective clouds from an operational polar orbiting weather satellite. Our methodology uses such clouds as an effective analog for CCN chambers. The cloud base supersaturation (S) is determined by Wb and the satellite-retrieved cloud base drop concentrations (Ndb), which is the same as CCN(S). Validation against ground-based CCN instruments at Oklahoma, at Manaus, and onboard a ship in the northeast Pacific showed a retrieval accuracy of ±25% to ±30% for individual satellite overpasses. The methodology is presently limited to boundary layer not raining convective clouds of at least 1 km depth that are not obscured by upper layer clouds, including semitransparent cirrus. The limitation for small solar backscattering angles of <25° restricts the satellite coverage to ∼25% of the world area in a single day.
Project description:A cloud-resolving model is used to simulate the effectiveness of Arctic marine cloud brightening via injection of cloud condensation nuclei (CCN), either through geoengineering or other increased sources of Arctic aerosols. An updated cloud microphysical scheme is employed, with prognostic CCN and cloud particle numbers in both liquid and mixed-phase marine low clouds. Injection of CCN into the marine boundary layer can delay the collapse of the boundary layer and increase low-cloud albedo. Albedo increases are stronger for pure liquid clouds than mixed-phase clouds. Liquid precipitation can be suppressed by CCN injection, whereas ice precipitation (snow) is affected less; thus, the effectiveness of brightening mixed-phase clouds is lower than for liquid-only clouds. CCN injection into a clean regime results in a greater albedo increase than injection into a polluted regime, consistent with current knowledge about aerosol-cloud interactions. Unlike previous studies investigating warm clouds, dynamical changes in circulation owing to precipitation changes are small. According to these results, which are dependent upon the representation of ice nucleation processes in the employed microphysical scheme, Arctic geoengineering is unlikely to be effective as the sole means of altering the global radiation budget but could have substantial local radiative effects.
Project description:Convective cloud formation and evolution strongly depend on environmental temperature and humidity profiles. The forming clouds change the profiles that created them by redistributing heat and moisture. Here we show that the evolution of the field's thermodynamic properties depends heavily on the concentration of aerosol, liquid or solid particles suspended in the atmosphere. Under polluted conditions, rain formation is suppressed and the non-precipitating clouds act to warm the lower part of the cloudy layer (where there is net condensation) and cool and moisten the upper part of the cloudy layer (where there is net evaporation), thereby destabilizing the layer. Under clean conditions, precipitation causes net warming of the cloudy layer and net cooling of the sub-cloud layer (driven by rain evaporation), which together act to stabilize the atmosphere with time. Previous studies have examined different aspects of the effects of clouds on their environment. Here, we offer a complete analysis of the cloudy atmosphere, spanning the aerosol effect from instability-consumption to enhancement, below, inside and above warm clouds, showing the temporal evolution of the effects. We propose a direct measure for the magnitude and sign of the aerosol effect on thermodynamic instability.
Project description:During the Marine Aerosol Cloud and Wildfire Study (MACAWS) in June and July of 2018, aerosol composition and cloud condensation nuclei (CCN) properties were measured over the N.E. Pacific to characterize the influence of aerosol hygroscopicity on predictions of ambient CCN and stratocumulus cloud droplet number concentrations (CDNC). Three vertical regions were characterized, corresponding to the marine boundary layer (MBL), an above-cloud organic aerosol layer (AC-OAL), and the free troposphere (FT) above the AC-OAL. The aerosol hygroscopicity parameter (?) was calculated from CCN measurements (? CCN) and bulk aerosol mass spectrometer (AMS) measurements (? AMS). Within the MBL, measured hygroscopicities varied between values typical of both continental environments (~0.2) and remote marine locations (~0.7). For most flights, CCN closure was achieved within 20% in the MBL. For five of the seven flights, assuming a constant aerosol size distribution produced similar or better CCN closure than assuming a constant "marine" hygroscopicity (? = 0.72). An aerosol-cloud parcel model was used to characterize the sensitivity of predicted stratocumulus CDNC to aerosol hygroscopicity, size distribution properties, and updraft velocity. Average CDNC sensitivity to accumulation mode aerosol hygroscopicity is 39% as large as the sensitivity to the geometric median diameter in this environment. Simulations suggest CDNC sensitivity to hygroscopicity is largest in marine stratocumulus with low updraft velocities (<0.2 m s-1), where accumulation mode particles are most relevant to CDNC, and in marine stratocumulus or cumulus with large updraft velocities (>0.6 m s-1), where hygroscopic properties of the Aitken mode dominate hygroscopicity sensitivity.
Project description:Coincident multi-year measurements of aerosol, cloud, precipitation and radiation at near-global scales are analyzed to diagnose their apparent relationships as suggestive of interactions previously proposed based on theoretical, observational, and model constructs. Specifically, we examine whether differences in aerosol loading in separate observations go along with consistently different precipitation, cloud properties, and cloud radiative effects. Our analysis uses a cloud regime (CR) framework to dissect and sort the results. The CRs come from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) sensor and are defined as distinct groups of cloud systems with similar co-variations of cloud top pressure and cloud optical thickness. Aerosol optical depth used as proxy for aerosol loading comes from two sources, MODIS observations, and the MERRA-2 re-analysis, and its variability is defined with respect to local seasonal climatologies. The choice of aerosol dataset impacts our results substantially. We also find that the responses of the marine and continental component of a CR are frequently quite disparate. Overall, CRs dominated by warm clouds tend to exhibit less ambiguous signals, but also have more uncertainty with regard to precipitation changes. Finally, we find weak, but occasionally systematic co-variations of select meteorological indicators and aerosol, which serves as a sober reminder that ascribing changes in cloud and cloud-affected variables solely to aerosol variations is precarious.
Project description:Satellite-retrieved aerosol optical properties have been extensively used to estimate ground-level fine particulate matter (PM2.5) concentrations in support of air pollution health effects research and air quality assessment at the urban to global scales. However, a large proportion, ~70%, of satellite observations of aerosols are missing as a result of cloud-cover, surface brightness, and snow-cover. The resulting PM2.5 estimates could therefore be biased due to this non-random data missingness. Cloud-cover in particular has the potential to impact ground-level PM2.5 concentrations through complex chemical and physical processes. We developed a series of statistical models using the Multi-Angle Implementation of Atmospheric Correction (MAIAC) aerosol product at 1 km resolution with information from the MODIS cloud product and meteorological information to investigate the extent to which cloud parameters and associated meteorological conditions impact ground-level aerosols at two urban sites in the US: Atlanta and San Francisco. We find that changes in temperature, wind speed, relative humidity, planetary boundary layer height, convective available potential energy, precipitation, cloud effective radius, cloud optical depth, and cloud emissivity are associated with changes in PM2.5 concentration and composition, and the changes differ by overpass time and cloud phase as well as between the San Francisco and Atlanta sites. A case-study at the San Francisco site confirmed that accounting for cloud-cover and associated meteorological conditions could substantially alter the spatial distribution of monthly ground-level PM2.5 concentrations.
Project description:Aerosol-cloud interactions (aerosol indirect effects) play an important role in regional meteorological variations, which could further induce feedback on regional air quality. While the impact of aerosol-cloud interactions on meteorology and climate has been extensively studied, their feedback on air quality remains unclear. Using a fully coupled meteorology-chemistry model, we find that increased aerosol loading due to anthropogenic activities in China substantially increases column cloud droplet number concentration and liquid water path (LWP), which further leads to a reduction in the downward shortwave radiation at surface, surface air temperature and planetary boundary layer (PBL) height. The shallower PBL and accelerated cloud chemistry due to larger LWP in turn enhance the concentrations of particulate matter with diameter less than 2.5??m (PM2.5) by up to 33.2??g m-3 (25.1%) and 11.0??g m-3 (12.5%) in January and July, respectively. Such a positive feedback amplifies the changes in PM2.5 concentrations, indicating an additional air quality benefit under effective pollution control policies but a penalty for a region with a deterioration in PM2.5 pollution. Additionally, we show that the cloud processing of aerosols, including wet scavenging and cloud chemistry, could also have substantial effects on PM2.5 concentrations.
Project description:Size-resolved aerosol samples were collected in Metro Manila between July 2018 and October 2019. Two Micro-Orifice Uniform Deposit Impactors (MOUDI) were deployed at Manila Observatory in Quezon City, Metro Manila with samples collected on a weekly basis for water-soluble speciation and mass quantification. Additional sets were collected for gravimetric and black carbon analysis, including during special events such as holidays. The unique aspect of the presented data is a year-long record with weekly frequency of size-resolved aerosol composition in a highly populated megacity where there is a lack of measurements. The data are suitable for research to understand the sources, evolution, and fate of atmospheric aerosols, as well as studies focusing on phenomena such as aerosol-cloud-precipitation-meteorology interactions, regional climate, boundary layer processes, and health effects. The dataset can be used to initialize, validate, and/or improve models and remote sensing algorithms.
Project description:Atmospheric aerosols affect weather and global general circulation by modifying cloud and precipitation processes, but the magnitude of cloud adjustment by aerosols remains poorly quantified and represents the largest uncertainty in estimated forcing of climate change. Here we assess the effects of anthropogenic aerosols on the Pacific storm track, using a multiscale global aerosol-climate model (GCM). Simulations of two aerosol scenarios corresponding to the present day and preindustrial conditions reveal long-range transport of anthropogenic aerosols across the north Pacific and large resulting changes in the aerosol optical depth, cloud droplet number concentration, and cloud and ice water paths. Shortwave and longwave cloud radiative forcing at the top of atmosphere are changed by -2.5 and +1.3 W m(-2), respectively, by emission changes from preindustrial to present day, and an increased cloud top height indicates invigorated midlatitude cyclones. The overall increased precipitation and poleward heat transport reflect intensification of the Pacific storm track by anthropogenic aerosols. Hence, this work provides, for the first time to the authors' knowledge, a global perspective of the effects of Asian pollution outflows from GCMs. Furthermore, our results suggest that the multiscale modeling framework is essential in producing the aerosol invigoration effect of deep convective clouds on a global scale.