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Process Modeling of Aerosol‐Cloud Interaction in Summertime Precipitating...

Li, X., H. Wang, M. W. Christensen, J. Chen, S. Tang, S. Kirschler, E. Crosbie, L. D. Ziemba, D. Painemal, A. Corral, K. A. McCauley, S. Dmitrovic, A. Sorooshian, M. A. Fenn, J. Schlosser, S. Stamnes, J. W. Hair, B. Cairns, R. Moore, R. Ferrare, M. Shook, Y. Choi, G. S. Diskin, J. P. DiGangi, J. B. Nowak, C. Robinson, T. Shingler, L. Thornhill, and C. Voigt (2024), Process Modeling of Aerosol‐Cloud Interaction in Summertime Precipitating Shallow Cumulus Over the Western North Atlantic, J. Geophys. Res., 129, e2023JD039489, doi:10.1029/2023JD039489.

Process modeling of Aerosol‐cloud interaction (ACI) is essential to bridging gaps between observational analysis and climate modeling of aerosol effects in the Earth system and eventually reducing climate projection uncertainties. In this study, we examine ACI in summertime precipitating shallow cumuli observed during the Aerosol Cloud meTeorology Interactions oVer the western ATlantic Experiment (ACTIVATE). Aerosols and precipitating shallow cumuli were extensively observed with in‐situ and remote‐ sensing instruments during two research flight cases on 02 June and 07 June, respectively, during the ACTIVATE summer 2021 deployment phase. We perform observational analysis and large‐eddy simulation (LES) of aerosol effect on precipitating cumulus in these two cases. Given the measured aerosol size distributions and meteorological conditions, LES is able to reproduce the observed cloud properties by aircraft such as liquid water content (LWC), cloud droplet number concentration (Nc) and effective radius reff. However, it produces smaller liquid water path (LWP) and larger Nc compared to the satellite retrievals. Both 02 and 07 June cases are over warm waters of the Gulf Stream and have a cloud top height over 3 km, but the 07 June case is more polluted and has larger LWC. We find that the Na‐induced LWP adjustment is dominated by precipitation feedback for the 2 June precipitating case and there is no clear entrainment feedback in both cases. An increase of cloud fraction due to a decrease of aerosol number concentration is also shown in the simulations for the 02 June case. Plain Language Summary Aerosol‐cloud‐interaction (ACI) regulates the energy budget of the Earth and poses the largest uncertainty in climate projection. Particularly, ACI of low clouds is poorly understood and causes the spread of Earth System Models (ESMs) in predicting cloud and climate responses to aerosol changes. Process studies have shown a nonlinear cloud water amount and cloud fraction adjustments due to aerosol changes via precipitation and cloud top entrainment, which are not often captured correctly in ESMs. This study explores the physical mechanisms of ACI in marine low clouds with a focus on precipitating low clouds using a cloud process model and unprecedented field campaign measurements of meteorology states, cloud properties, and aerosols collected during the Aerosol Cloud meTeorology Interactions oVer the western ATlantic Experiment. We show that the aerosol‐induced cloud water amount adjustment is dominated by changes in precipitation and there is no clear entrainment feedback in both cases. Our findings can help improve the representation of ACI within precipitating marine low clouds in ESMs.

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Radiation Science Program (RSP)
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