92nd American Meteorological Society Annual Meeting (January 22-26, 2012)

Tuesday, 24 January 2012: 5:15 PM
Aerosol-Cloud-Water Vapor Interactions in Non-Precipitating Maritime Cumulus Clouds
Room 244 (New Orleans Convention Center )
Melissa Anne Pfeffer, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway; and J. E. Kristjansson, F. Stordal, T. Berntsen, and J. D. Fast

Aerosol-cloud-water vapor feedbacks in clean maritime air have been quantified for different aerosol sources using the WRF-Chem atmospheric model. The simulations were made over the Lesser Antilles in the region of the RICO measurement campaign where the clouds are low, patchy, typical trade-wind cumuli. In this very clean air, sea salt and DMS are found to have greater effects than anthropogenic pollution on the cloud droplets' effective radii and longwave and shortwave outgoing top of atmosphere radiation. The changes in radiation due to each aerosol source are a function of how each source influences aerosol concentration, cloud droplet number concentration, cloud droplet sizes, and water vapor concentration. Changes in outgoing shortwave radiation are due predominantly to changes in the clouds, followed by the direct aerosol effect which is about 2/3 as important, followed by the effects of water vapor which is in turn about 2/3 as important as the direct effect. Changes in outgoing longwave radiation are due predominantly to changes in the clouds, with changes in water vapor being about 1/10 as important. The simulated changes in water vapor concentration are due to the competing effects of aerosol particles being able to both enhance condensation of available water vapor and enhance evaporation of smaller droplets. These changes are independent of precipitation effects as there is essentially no drizzle in the domain. It is expected that the aerosol-cloud-water vapor feedback mechanisms may be stronger in dirtier and more strongly convective conditions.

Supplementary URL: