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The dependence of aerosol effects on clouds and precipitation on cloud-system organization, shear and stability

Lee, Seoung Soo; Donner, Leo J.; Phillips, Vaughan LU and Ming, Yi (2008) In Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres 113(D16). p.16202-16202
Abstract
Precipitation suppression due to an increase of aerosol number concentration in stratiform cloud is well-known. It is not certain whether the suppression applies for deep convection. Recent studies have suggested increasing precipitation from deep convection with increasing aerosols under some, but not all, conditions. Increasing precipitation with increasing aerosols can result from strong interactions in deep convection between dynamics and microphysics. High cloud liquid, due to delayed autoconversion, provides more evaporation, leading to more active downdrafts, convergence fields, condensation, collection of cloud liquid by precipitable hydrometeors, and precipitation. Evaporation of cloud liquid is a primary determinant of the... (More)
Precipitation suppression due to an increase of aerosol number concentration in stratiform cloud is well-known. It is not certain whether the suppression applies for deep convection. Recent studies have suggested increasing precipitation from deep convection with increasing aerosols under some, but not all, conditions. Increasing precipitation with increasing aerosols can result from strong interactions in deep convection between dynamics and microphysics. High cloud liquid, due to delayed autoconversion, provides more evaporation, leading to more active downdrafts, convergence fields, condensation, collection of cloud liquid by precipitable hydrometeors, and precipitation. Evaporation of cloud liquid is a primary determinant of the intensity of the interactions. It is partly controlled by wind shear modulating the entrainment of dry air into clouds and transport of cloud liquid into unsaturated areas. Downdraft-induced convergence, crucial to the interaction, is weak for shallow clouds, generally associated with low convective available potential energy ( CAPE). Aerosol effects on cloud and precipitation can vary with CAPE and wind shear. Pairs of idealized numerical experiments for high and low aerosol cases were run for five different environmental conditions to investigate the dependence of aerosol effect on stability and wind shear. In the environment of high CAPE and strong wind shear, cumulonimbus- and cumulus-type clouds were dominant. Transport of cloud liquid to unsaturated areas was larger at high aerosol, leading to stronger downdrafts. Because of the large vertical extent of those clouds, strong downdrafts and convergence developed for strong interactions between dynamics and microphysics. These led to larger precipitation at high aerosol. Detrainment of cloud liquid and associated evaporation were less with lower CAPE and wind shear, where dynamically weaker clouds dominated. Transport of cloud liquid to unsaturated areas was not as active as in the environment of high CAPE and strong shear. Also, evaporatively driven differences in downdrafts at their level of initial descent were not magnified in clouds with shallow depth as much as in deep convective clouds as they accelerated to the surface over shorter distances. Hence the interaction between dynamics and microphysics was reduced, leading to precipitation suppression at high aerosol. These results demonstrate that increasing aerosol can either decrease or increase precipitation for an imposed large-scale environment supporting cloud development. The implications for larger-scale aspects of the hydrological cycle will require further study with larger-domain models and cumulus parameterizations with advanced microphysics. (Less)
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author
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
in
Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres
volume
113
issue
D16
pages
16202 - 16202
publisher
Wiley-Blackwell
external identifiers
  • wos:000258511000001
  • scopus:56249120292
ISSN
2169-8996
DOI
10.1029/2007JD009224
language
English
LU publication?
no
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8cf295af-0ae1-4bad-b163-84bb0b5ad57d (old id 4587504)
date added to LUP
2014-08-15 10:25:52
date last changed
2017-10-22 03:53:35
@article{8cf295af-0ae1-4bad-b163-84bb0b5ad57d,
  abstract     = {Precipitation suppression due to an increase of aerosol number concentration in stratiform cloud is well-known. It is not certain whether the suppression applies for deep convection. Recent studies have suggested increasing precipitation from deep convection with increasing aerosols under some, but not all, conditions. Increasing precipitation with increasing aerosols can result from strong interactions in deep convection between dynamics and microphysics. High cloud liquid, due to delayed autoconversion, provides more evaporation, leading to more active downdrafts, convergence fields, condensation, collection of cloud liquid by precipitable hydrometeors, and precipitation. Evaporation of cloud liquid is a primary determinant of the intensity of the interactions. It is partly controlled by wind shear modulating the entrainment of dry air into clouds and transport of cloud liquid into unsaturated areas. Downdraft-induced convergence, crucial to the interaction, is weak for shallow clouds, generally associated with low convective available potential energy ( CAPE). Aerosol effects on cloud and precipitation can vary with CAPE and wind shear. Pairs of idealized numerical experiments for high and low aerosol cases were run for five different environmental conditions to investigate the dependence of aerosol effect on stability and wind shear. In the environment of high CAPE and strong wind shear, cumulonimbus- and cumulus-type clouds were dominant. Transport of cloud liquid to unsaturated areas was larger at high aerosol, leading to stronger downdrafts. Because of the large vertical extent of those clouds, strong downdrafts and convergence developed for strong interactions between dynamics and microphysics. These led to larger precipitation at high aerosol. Detrainment of cloud liquid and associated evaporation were less with lower CAPE and wind shear, where dynamically weaker clouds dominated. Transport of cloud liquid to unsaturated areas was not as active as in the environment of high CAPE and strong shear. Also, evaporatively driven differences in downdrafts at their level of initial descent were not magnified in clouds with shallow depth as much as in deep convective clouds as they accelerated to the surface over shorter distances. Hence the interaction between dynamics and microphysics was reduced, leading to precipitation suppression at high aerosol. These results demonstrate that increasing aerosol can either decrease or increase precipitation for an imposed large-scale environment supporting cloud development. The implications for larger-scale aspects of the hydrological cycle will require further study with larger-domain models and cumulus parameterizations with advanced microphysics.},
  author       = {Lee, Seoung Soo and Donner, Leo J. and Phillips, Vaughan and Ming, Yi},
  issn         = {2169-8996},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {D16},
  pages        = {16202--16202},
  publisher    = {Wiley-Blackwell},
  series       = {Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres},
  title        = {The dependence of aerosol effects on clouds and precipitation on cloud-system organization, shear and stability},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1029/2007JD009224},
  volume       = {113},
  year         = {2008},
}