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Interannual variability of smoke and warm cloud relationships in the Amazon as...

Yu, H., R. Fu, R. E. Dickinson, Y. Zhang, M. Chen, and H. Wang (2007), Interannual variability of smoke and warm cloud relationships in the Amazon as inferred from MODIS retrievals, Remote Sensing of Environment, 111, 435-449, doi:10.1016/j.rse.2007.04.003.

Aerosol and cloud data from the MODerate resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) onboard the Earth Observing System (EOS) Aqua are used to investigate interannual variability of smoke and warm cloud relationships during the dry-to-wet transition season (August–October) over the Amazon for two years and its association with meteorological conditions. In one year (2003), smoke aerosols are associated with an increase of cloud fraction and a decrease of cloud effective radius. These effects amplify the cooling at the surface and at the top of the atmosphere (TOA) caused by the aerosol extinction. However, in another year (2002) the cloud fraction decreases with increasing aerosol optical depth. Such a decrease of cloud fraction could offset the effect of increased reflection of solar radiation by the aerosols both at the surface and at TOA. The changes in radiative fluxes between these years would contribute to interannual changes of surface energy fluxes and radiative balance at the top of the atmosphere and influence variability of the wet season onset in the basin. In 2003, the atmosphere was more humid and less stable. These conditions may be relatively favorable for the activation of aerosol particles into cloud condensation nuclei and hence cloud droplets. In 2002, the clouds were less extensive and thinner in a relatively dry atmosphere and presumably dissipated more easily. This study suggests that the aerosolcloud relation can be influenced by atmospheric structure and convective motions, in addition to changes in aerosols properties. An adequate characterization of aerosol-cloud relationship would require a longer time series of data that includes a variety of climate conditions. The caveat of this analysis is that differences in aerosol absorption and its vertical distribution may have contributed to the observed interannual change of smoke-cloud relationship but could not be determined due to lack of adequate measurements.

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