Articles | Volume 18, issue 17
Research article
04 Sep 2018
Research article |  | 04 Sep 2018

Exploring the first aerosol indirect effect over Southeast Asia using a 10-year collocated MODIS, CALIOP, and model dataset

Alexa D. Ross, Robert E. Holz, Gregory Quinn, Jeffrey S. Reid, Peng Xian, F. Joseph Turk, and Derek J. Posselt

Abstract. Satellite observations and model simulations cannot, by themselves, give full insight into the complex relationships between aerosols and clouds. This is especially true over Southeast Asia, an area that is particularly sensitive to changes in precipitation yet poses some of the world's largest observability and predictability challenges. We present a new collocated dataset, the Curtain Cloud-Aerosol Regional A-Train dataset, or CCARA. CCARA includes collocated satellite observations from Aqua's Moderate-resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) and the Cloud-Aerosol Lidar with Orthogonal Polarization (CALIOP) with the Navy Aerosol Analysis and Prediction System (NAAPS). The CCARA dataset is designed with the capability to investigate aerosol–cloud relationships in regions with limited aerosol retrievals due to high cloud amounts by leveraging the NAAPS model reanalysis of aerosol concentration in these regions. This combined aerosol and cloud dataset provides coincident and vertically resolved cloud and aerosol observations for 2006–2016. Using the model reanalysis aerosol fields from the NAAPS and coincident cloud liquid effective radius retrievals from MODIS (cirrus contamination using CALIOP), we investigate the first aerosol indirect effect in Southeast Asia. We find that, as expected, aerosol loading anti-correlates with cloud effective radius, with maximum sensitivity in cumulous mediocris clouds with heights in the 3–4.5 km level. The highest susceptibilities in droplet effective radius to modeled perturbations in particle concentrations were found in the more remote and pristine regions of the western Pacific Ocean and Indian Ocean. Conversely, there was much less variability in cloud droplet size near emission sources over both land and water. We hypothesize this is suggestive of a high aerosol background already saturated with cloud condensation nuclei even during the relatively clean periods, in contrast to the remote ocean regions, which have periods where the aerosol concentrations are low enough to allow for larger droplet growth.

Short summary
This paper explores how clouds and aerosols interact over Southeast Asia. We introduce a new collocated dataset called the Curtain Cloud-Aerosol Regional A-Train (CCARA) product. CCARA is special because it combines satellite observations with model reanalysis. We find that increased aerosol corresponds to smaller observed liquid cloud droplets in some areas. Other areas experienced little to no change in effective radius (droplet size) when aerosol amount increased.
Final-revised paper