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Impacts of Nucleating Aerosol on Florida Storms. Part I: Mesoscale Simulations

van den Heever, S., G. G. Carrió, W. Cotton, P. J. DeMott, and A. J. Prenni (2006), Impacts of Nucleating Aerosol on Florida Storms. Part I: Mesoscale Simulations, J. Atmos. Sci., 63, 1752-1775.

Toward the end of the Cirrus Regional Study of Tropical Anvils and Cirrus Layer–Florida Area Cirrus Experiment (CRYSTAL–FACE) field campaign held during July 2002, high concentrations of Saharan dust, which can serve as cloud condensation nuclei (CCN), giant CCN (GCCN), and ice-forming nuclei (IFN) were observed over the peninsula of Florida. To investigate the impacts of enhanced aerosol concentrations on the characteristics of convective storms and their subsequent anvil development, sensitivity tests are conducted using the Regional Atmospheric Modeling System (RAMS) model, in which the initialization profiles of CCN, GCCN, and IFN concentrations are varied. These variations are found to have significant effects on the storm dynamics and microphysical processes, as well as on the surface precipitation. Updrafts are consistently stronger as the aerosol concentrations are increased. The anvils cover a smaller area but are better organized and have larger condensate mixing ratio maxima in the cases with greater aerosol concentrations. Cloud water mass tends to increase with increasing aerosol concentrations, with enhanced GCCN concentrations having the most significant influence. Increasing either the GCCN or IFN concentrations produces the most rainfall at the surface whereas enhanced CCN concentrations reduce surface rainfall. Higher IFN concentrations produce ice at warmer temperatures and deeper anvils, but simultaneously increasing the concentrations of CCN and GCCN leads to more supercooled liquid water available for freezing and greater ice mixing ratios. Graupel mixing ratios decrease and hail mixing ratios increase with increasing aerosol concentrations. Higher concentrations of GCCN and IFN result in greater accumulated surface precipitation initially. By the end of the simulation period, however, the accumulated precipitation is the greatest for the case in which the aerosol concentrations are lowest. Such changes in the dynamical and microphysical characteristics of convective storms as a result of the variations in aerosol concentrations have potential climate consequences, both through cloud radiative effects and the hydrological cycle. The impacts of varying CCN, GCCN, and IFN concentrations on the anvils will be discussed more fully in Part II.