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The Dependence of Cloud Particle Size on Non-Aerosol-Loading Related Variables

Description: An enhanced concentration of aerosol may increase the number of cloud drops by providing more cloud condensation nuclei (CCN), which in turn results in a higher cloud albedo at a constant cloud liquid water path. This process is often referred to as the aerosol indirect effect (AIE). Many in situ and remote sensing observations support this hypothesis (Ramanathan et al. 2001). However, satellite observed relations between aerosol concentration and cloud drop size are not always in agreement with the AIE. Based on global analysis of cloud effective radius (r{sub e}) and aerosol number concentration (N{sub a}) derived from satellite data, Sekiguchi et al. (2003) found that the correlations between the two variables can be either negative, or positive, or none, depending on the location of the clouds. They discovered that significantly negative r{sub e} - N{sub a} correlation can only be identified along coastal regions of the continents where abundant continental aerosols inflow from land, whereas Feingold et al. (2001) found that the response of r{sub e} to aerosol loading is the greatest in the region where aerosol optical depth ({tau}{sub a}) is the smallest. The reason for the discrepancy is likely due to the variations in cloud macroscopic properties such as geometrical thickness (Brenguier et al. 2003). Since r{sub e} is modified not only by aerosol but also by cloud geometrical thickness (H), the correlation between re and {tau}{sub a} actually reflects both the aerosol indirect effect and dependence of H. Therefore, discussing AIE based on the r{sub e}-{tau}{sub a} correlation without taking into account variations in cloud geometrical thickness may be misleading. This paper is motivated to extract aerosols' effect from overall effects using the independent measurements of cloud geometrical thickness, {tau}{sub a} and r{sub e}.
Date: March 18, 2005
Creator: Shao, H. & Liu, G.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department