Ultra-clean and smoky marine boundary layers frequently occur in the same...

Pennypacker, S., M. Diamond, and R. Wood (2019), Ultra-clean and smoky marine boundary layers frequently occur in the same season over the southeast Atlantic, Atmos. Chem. Phys., doi:10.5194/acp-2019-628 (submitted).

We study forty-one days with daily median surface accumulation mode aerosol particle concentrations below 50 cm-3 (ultra-clean conditions) observed at Ascension Island (7.9°S, 14.4°W) between June 2016 and October 2017 as part of the Layered Atlantic Smoke Interactions with Clouds (LASIC) campaign. Interestingly, these days occur during a period of great relevance for aerosol-cloud-radiation interactions, the southeast Atlantic (SEATL) biomass-burning season

10 (approximately June - October). That means that these critical months can feature both the highest surface aerosol numbers, from smoke intrusion into the marine boundary layer, as well as the lowest. While carbon monoxide and refractory black carbon concentrations on ultra-clean days do not approach those on days with heavy smoke, they also frequently exceed background concentrations calculated in the non-burning season from December 2016 - April 2017. This is evidence that even what become ultra-clean boundary layers can make contact with and entrain from an overlying SEATL smoke layer

15 before undergoing a process of rapid aerosol removal. Because many ultra-clean and polluted boundary layers observed at Ascension Island follow similar isobaric back-trajectories, the variability in this entrainment is likely closely tied to the variability in the overlying smoke rather than large-scale horizontal circulation through the boundary layer. Finally, surface drizzle rates, frequencies and accumulation – as well as retrievals of liquid water path – all consistently tend toward higher values on ultra-clean days. This implicates enhanced coalescence scavenging in low clouds as the key driver of ultra-clean

20 events in the southeast Atlantic marine boundary layer. These enhancements occur against and are likely mediated by the backdrop of a seasonal increase in daily mean cloud fraction and daily median liquid water path over ASI, peaking in September and October in both LASIC years. Therefore the seasonality in ultra-clean day occurrence seems directly linked to the seasonality in SEATL cloud properties. These results highlight the importance of two-way aerosol-cloud interactions in the region.

25 1 Introduction Cloud-mediated aerosol radiative effects remain a significant source of uncertainty in our understanding of the climate system (Boucher et al., 2013; Rosenfeld et al., 2014). The Southeast Atlantic (SEATL) is a focal point for studying these effects because biomass-burning aerosol (BBA) particles transported from central and southern Africa frequently overly a major stratocumulus deck between approximately July and October (Devasthale and Thomas, 2011; Zuidema et al., 2016c).


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Atmospheric Composition
Radiation Science Program (RSP)