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Modeling Aerosol Impacts on Convective Storms in Different Environments

Storer, R. L., S. van den Heever, and G. L. Stephens (2010), Modeling Aerosol Impacts on Convective Storms in Different Environments, J. Atmos. Sci., 67, 3904-3915, doi:10.1175/2010JAS3363.1.
Abstract: 

Aerosols are known to have both direct and indirect effects on clouds through their role as cloud condensation nuclei. This study examines the effects of differing aerosol concentrations on convective storms developing under different environments. The Regional Atmospheric Modeling System (RAMS), a cloudresolving model with sophisticated microphysical and aerosol parameterization schemes, was used to achieve the goals of this study. A sounding that would produce deep convection was chosen and consistently modified to obtain a variety of CAPE values. Additionally, the model was initiated with varying concentrations of aerosols that were available to act as cloud condensation nuclei. Each model run produced long-lived convective storms with similar storm development, but they differed slightly based on the initial conditions. Runs with higher initial CAPE values produced the strongest storms overall, with stronger updrafts and larger amounts of accumulated surface precipitation. Simulations initiated with larger concentrations of aerosols developed similar storm structures but showed some distinctive dynamical and microphysical changes because of aerosol indirect effects. Many of the changes seen because of varying aerosol concentrations were of either the same order or larger magnitude than those brought about by changing the convective environment.

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