Articles | Volume 16, issue 10
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 16, 6595–6607, 2016
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-16-6595-2016
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 16, 6595–6607, 2016
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-16-6595-2016

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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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.
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