382 Moisture dynamics in the cloudy and polluted tropical atmosphere: The Cloud Aerosol Radiative Forcing Dynamics Experiment (CARDEX)

Monday, 7 January 2013
Exhibit Hall 3 (Austin Convention Center)
Eric M. Wilcox, DRI, Reno, NV; and R. M. Thomas, P. S. Praveen, K. Pistone, F. Bender, Y. Feng, and V. Ramanathan

Aerosols are well known to modify the microphysical properties of clouds. This modification is expected to yield brighter clouds that cover a greater area. However, observations from satellites show little inter-hemispheric difference in cloud optical thickness and liquid water path in spite of the clear inter-hemispheric difference in aerosol optical thickness. Furthermore, comparisons of observations with global atmospheric models suggest that models that parameterize the mechanisms of aerosol nucleation of cloud drops but do not resolve cloud-scale dynamics may be overestimating the magnitude of aerosol effects on cloud radiative forcing. Resolving these discrepancies requires a deeper understanding of the factors determining the transport of moisture to the cloud layer and the effects of aerosols on that transport. Towards this goal, we have conducted a new field experiment to study the moisture dynamics in the boundary layer and lower troposphere of the polluted and cloudy tropical atmosphere. The Cloud Aerosol Radiative Forcing Dynamics Experiment (CARDEX) was conducted during the winter of 2012 at the Maldives Climate Observatory - Hanimaadhoo in the tropical northern Indian Ocean during the period of extensive outflow of the South Asian pollution. Pollution in the CARDEX region has been well documented to both modify the microphysical properties of low clouds and strongly absorb solar radiation with significant consequences for the lower atmosphere and surface radiative energy budgets. Three unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) flew nearly 60 research flights instrumented to measure turbulent latent and sensible heat fluxes, aerosol concentrations, and cloud microphysical properties. Airborne measurements were enhanced with continuous surface monitoring of surface turbulent heat fluxes, aerosol concentrations and physical properties, surface remote sensing of cloud water amount and aerosol profiles, and model analyses of aerosols and dynamics with WRFchem. This presentation will review early analysis from the CARDEX dataset designed to explore the relationships among heat and moisture fluxes in the boundary layer, aerosol variability and clouds.
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