Articles | Volume 16, issue 17
Research article
14 Sep 2016
Research article |  | 14 Sep 2016

Precipitation susceptibility in marine stratocumulus and shallow cumulus from airborne measurements

Eunsil Jung, Bruce A. Albrecht, Armin Sorooshian, Paquita Zuidema, and Haflidi H. Jonsson

Abstract. Precipitation tends to decrease as aerosol concentration increases in warm marine boundary layer clouds at fixed liquid water path (LWP). The quantitative nature of this relationship is captured using the precipitation susceptibility (So) metric. Previously published works disagree on the qualitative behavior of So in marine low clouds: So decreases monotonically with increasing LWP or cloud depth (H) in stratocumulus clouds (Sc), while it increases and then decreases in shallow cumulus clouds (Cu). This study uses airborne measurements from four field campaigns on Cu and Sc with similar instrument packages and flight maneuvers to examine if and why So behavior varies as a function of cloud type. The findings show that So increases with H and then decreases in both Sc and Cu. Possible reasons for why these results differ from those in previous studies of Sc are discussed.

Short summary
We calculate the qualitative behavior of precipitation response to aerosol loadings with cloud depths for warm boundary layer clouds (stratocumulus and shallow marine cumulus), using aircraft measurements across four field campaigns. The finding shows that precipitation responds similarly to aerosol loadings for both stratocumulus and cumulus clouds, regardless of cloud type. Precipitation is most susceptible to aerosol perturbations in the medium–deep depth of clouds.
Final-revised paper