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Analysis of Near-Cloud Changes in Atmospheric Aerosols Using Satellite...

Várnai, T., and A. Marshak (2021), Analysis of Near-Cloud Changes in Atmospheric Aerosols Using Satellite Observations and Global Model Simulations, Remote Sens., 13, 1151, doi:10.3390/rs13061151.

This paper examines cloud-related variations of atmospheric aerosols that occur in partly cloudy regions containing low-altitude clouds. The goal is to better understand aerosol behaviors and to help better represent the radiative effects of aerosols on climate. For this, the paper presents a statistical analysis of a multi-month global dataset that combines data from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) and Cloud-Aerosol Lidar with Orthogonal Polarization (CALIOP) satellite instruments with data from the Modern-Era Retrospective analysis for Research and Applications, Version 2 (MERRA-2) global reanalysis. Among other findings, the results reveal that near-cloud enhancements in lidar backscatter (closely related to aerosol optical depth) are larger (1) over land than ocean by 35%, (2) near optically thicker clouds by substantial amounts, (3) for sea salt than for other aerosol types, with the difference from dust reaching 50%. Finally, the study found that mean lidar backscatter is higher near clouds not because of large-scale variations in meteorological conditions, but because of local processes associated with individual clouds. The results help improve our understanding of aerosol-cloud-radiation interactions and our ability to represent them in climate models and other atmospheric models.

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Radiation Science Program (RSP)