Articles | Volume 16, issue 10
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 16, 6595–6607, 2016
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 16, 6595–6607, 2016

Research article 31 May 2016

Research article | 31 May 2016

Limitations of passive remote sensing to constrain global cloud condensation nuclei

Philip Stier

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Cited articles

Abdul-Razzak, H. and Ghan, S. J.: A parameterization of aerosol activation 2. Multiple aerosol types, J. Geophys. Res., 105, 6837–6844, 2000.
Albrecht, B. A.: Aerosols, cloud microphysics, and fractional cloudiness, Science, 245, 1227–1230, 1989.
Andreae, M. O.: Correlation between cloud condensation nuclei concentration and aerosol optical thickness in remote and polluted regions, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 9, 543–556,, 2009.
Clarke, A. and Kapustin, V.: Hemispheric aerosol vertical profiles: anthropogenic impacts on optical depth and cloud nuclei, Science, 330, 1047–1047, 2010.
Short summary
Cloud droplets form on suitable nuclei from aerosol emissions. Clouds with more droplets have higher reflectance so that aerosol emissions have a cooling climate effect. Numerous publications of these effects rely on passive satellite remote sensing. In this work I use a self consistent global aerosol model to show that a commonly used assumption (passively retrieved aerosol extinction is a suitable proxy for cloud condensation nuclei) is violated for a significant fraction of the Earth.
Final-revised paper