A long-term satellite study of aerosol effects on convective clouds in Nordic background air

Forskningsoutput: TidskriftsbidragArtikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift

Abstract

Aerosol-cloud interactions constitute a major uncertainty in future climate predictions. This study combines 10 years of ground-based aerosol particle measurements from two Nordic background stations (Vavihill and Hyytiala) with MODIS (Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer) satellite data of convective clouds. The merged data are used to examine how aerosols affect cloud droplet sizes and precipitation from convective clouds over the Nordic countries. From the satellite scenes, vertical profiles of cloud droplet effective radius (r(e)) are created by plotting retrieved cloud top r(e) against cloud top temperature for the clouds in a given satellite scene. The profiles have been divided according to aerosol number concentrations but also meteorological reanalysis parameters from the ECMWF (European Centre for Medium-Range Forecasts). Furthermore, weather radar data from the BALTEX (Baltic Sea Experiment) and precipitation data from several ground-based meteorological measurement stations have been investigated to determine whether aerosols affect precipitation intensity and amount. Small r(e) throughout the entire cloud profiles is associated with high aerosol number concentrations at both stations. However, aerosol number concentrations seem to affect neither the cloud optical thickness nor the vertical extent of the clouds in this study. Cloud profiles with no or little precipitation have smaller droplets than those with more precipitation. Moreover, the amount of precipitation that reaches the ground is affected by meteorological conditions such as the vertical extent of the clouds, the atmospheric instability and the relative humidity in the lower atmosphere rather than the aerosol number concentration. However, lower precipitation rates are associated with higher aerosol number concentrations for clouds with similar vertical extent. The combination of these ground-based and remote-sensing datasets provides a unique long-term study of the effects of aerosols on convective clouds over the Nordic countries.

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Ämnesklassifikation (UKÄ) – OBLIGATORISK

  • Subatomär fysik
Originalspråkengelska
Sidor (från-till)2203-2217
TidskriftAtmospheric Chemistry and Physics
Volym14
Utgåva nummer4
StatusPublished - 2014
PublikationskategoriForskning
Peer review utfördJa