Shallow cumulus clouds embedded in a deep regional haze: Results from Indian Ocean CARDEX experiment

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Monday, 3 February 2014: 5:00 PM
Room C207 (The Georgia World Congress Center )
Eric M. Wilcox, DRI, Reno, NV; and R. M. Thomas, P. S. Praveen, K. Pistone, F. Bender, Y. Feng, and V. Ramanathan

During the winter monsoon, shallow cumulus clouds over the North Indian Ocean are embedded within a deep regional haze described as an atmospheric brown cloud. While the trade-cu clouds are largely confined to the marine boundary layer, the sooty brown cloud extends from the boundary layer to as high as 3 km; well above the tops of the cumulus. The boundary layer pollution is persistent and limits drizzle in the cumulus over a period of greater than a month at the Maldives Climate Observatory located at Hanimaadhoo Island. The elevated haze from 1 to 3 km altitude is episodic and strongly modulated by synoptic variability in the 700 hPa flow. The elevated plume enhances heating above the marine boundary layer through daytime absorption of sunlight by the haze particles. The interplay between the microphysical modification of clouds by boundary layer pollution and the episodic elevated heating by the atmospheric brown cloud are explored in in-situ observations from UAVs and surface remote sensing during the CARDEX field campaign of winter 2012 and supported by multi-year analysis of satellite remote sensing observations. These observations document the variability in pollution at the surface and above the marine boundary layer and the effects of pollution on the microphysics of the trade-cu clouds, the depth of the marine boundary layer, the liquid water path of trade-cu clouds, and the profile of turbulent moisture flux through the boundary layer. The consequences of these effects for the radiative forcing of regional climate will be discussed.