Articles | Volume 11, issue 9
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 11, 4027–4037, 2011
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 11, 4027–4037, 2011

Research article 03 May 2011

Research article | 03 May 2011

Investigating potential biases in observed and modeled metrics of aerosol-cloud-precipitation interactions

H. T. Duong1, A. Sorooshian1,2, and G. Feingold3 H. T. Duong et al.
  • 1Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona 85721, USA
  • 2Department of Atmospheric Sciences, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona 85721, USA
  • 3NOAA Earth Systems Research Laboratory, Boulder, Colorado 80305, USA

Abstract. This study utilizes large eddy simulation, aircraft measurements, and satellite observations to identify factors that bias the absolute magnitude of metrics of aerosol-cloud-precipitation interactions for warm clouds. The metrics considered are precipitation susceptibility So, which examines rain rate sensitivity to changes in drop number, and a cloud-precipitation metric, χ, which relates changes in rain rate to those in drop size. While wide ranges in rain rate exist at fixed cloud drop concentration for different cloud liquid water amounts, χ and So are shown to be relatively insensitive to the growth phase of the cloud for large datasets that include data representing the full spectrum of cloud lifetime. Spatial resolution of measurements is shown to influence the liquid water path-dependent behavior of So and χ. Other factors of importance are the choice of the minimum rain rate threshold, and how to quantify rain rate, drop size, and the cloud condensation nucleus proxy. Finally, low biases in retrieved aerosol amounts owing to wet scavenging and high biases associated with above-cloud aerosol layers should be accounted for. The paper explores the impact of these effects for model, satellite, and aircraft data.

Final-revised paper