A NASA P‐3 aircraft was equipped with a Cloud Droplet Probe CDP sizing particles between 2 and 50μm, a Cloud and Aerosol Spectrometer CAS sizing between 0.51 and 50 μm and a 2D‐stereo probe 2DS, nominally sizing between 10 and 1280 μm a Cloud Imaging Probe CIP, from 25 to 1600μm, and a High Volume Precipitation Sampler HVPS‐3, from 150μm to 1.92cm for measuring number distribution functions (n(D)) along with a King probe for measuring liquid water content, LWC. A Passive Cavity Aerosol Spectrometer Probe PCASP measured aerosol particles between 0.1 to 3μm.
Cloud legs from three research flights are classified into different regimes based on the aerosol concentration measured in the accumulation mode by the PCASP (Na) and its location above clouds. These legs include vertical transects through clouds and sawtooths (ramped legs starting above or below the cloud layer, completing a vertical transect through the cloud and repeating this pattern for several legs). The regimes; clean, mixing and separated, correspond to conditions with Na less than 100 cm-3 above cloud top, Na greater than 100 cm-3 within 100 m above cloud top and Na greater than 100 cm-3 separated from the cloud top by more than 100 m.
During the mixing regime, measurements from CAS and 2DS show that droplet concentrations and cloud optical depths increased and effective radii decreased, relative to other regimes. Drizzle suppression with lower probability of occurrence of drizzle drops (diameter greater than 50 um) and entrainment of dry air with decreased droplet concentrations near cloud tops was also observed. Similar LWC was observed across regimes with similar vertical velocities during the cloud legs.