1 Impacts of Aerosols on Precipitation and Thunderstorms in China

Monday, 11 January 2016
Li Cai, Wuhan University, Wuhan, China; and Y. Lin and R. Zhang

As the world's second largest economy, China has experienced severe haze pollution, with fine particulate matter (PM) recently reaching unprecedentedly high levels across many cities. Aerosols interact directly and indirectly with the Earth's radiation budget and climate. For the direct effect, aerosols scatter and absorb solar radiation. Light scattering by aerosols changes the radiative fluxes at the top-of-atmosphere (TOA), at the surface, and within the atmospheric column, while aerosol absorption modifies the atmospheric temperature structure, decreases the solar radiation at the surface, and lowers surface sensible and latent fluxes, suppressing convection and reducing cloud fraction. Furthermore, aerosols indirectly impact climate by altering cloud development, lifetime, precipitation, and albedo, by serving as cloud condensation nuclei (CCN). Here in this paper, we investigate the link between long-term changes in aerosols and precipitation and thunderstorms in China, on the basis of observations and modeling simulations. We illustrate that elevated aerosol loading in China exerts profound impacts on the precipitation patterns and thunderstorm occurrence.

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