Relationship between low-cloud presence and the amount of overlying aerosols
- 1Division of Atmospheric Sciences, Desert Research Institute, Reno, NV 89512, USA
- 2Department of Meteorology and Bolin Centre for Climate Research, Stockholm University, 106 91 Stockholm, Sweden
Abstract. Aerosols are often advected above cloud decks, and the amount of aerosols over cloud has been assumed to be similar to that at the same heights in nearby clear sky. In this assumption, cloud and aerosol above cloud-top height are considered randomly located with respect to each other. The Cloud-Aerosol Lidar and Infrared Pathfinder Satellite Observations (CALIPSO) data are analyzed here to investigate this assumption on global scales.
The CALIPSO data reveal that the aerosol optical depth (AOD) above low cloud tends to be smaller than in nearby clear sky during the daytime, and the opposite is true during the nighttime. In particular, over oceanic regions with wide-spread low cloud, such as the tropical southeastern Atlantic Ocean and northeastern Pacific Ocean, the daytime AOD above low cloud is often 40 % smaller than in surrounding clear skies.