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© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  17 Feb 2020

17 Feb 2020

Review status
This preprint is currently under review for the journal ACP.

Precipitation enhancement in stratocumulus clouds through airbourne seeding: sensitivity analysis by UCLALES–SALSA

Juha Tonttila1, Ali Afzalifar3, Harri Kokkola1, Tomi Raatikainen2, Hannele Korhonen2, and Sami Romakkaniemi1 Juha Tonttila et al.
  • 1Finnish Meteorological Institute, P.O. Box 1627, 70211, Kuopio, Finland
  • 2Finnish Meteorological Institute, P.O. Box 503, 00101, Helsinki, Finland
  • 3Aalto University School of Science, Department of Applied Physics, Espoo, Finland

Abstract. Artificial enhancement of precipitation via hygroscopic cloud seeding is investigated with a numerical large-eddy simulation model coupled with a spectral aerosol-cloud microphysics module. We focus our investigation on marine stratocumulus clouds and evaluate our model results by comparing them with recently published results from field observations. Creating multiple realizations of a single cloud event with the model provides a robust method to detect and attribute the seeding effects, which reinforces the analysis based on experimental data. Owing to the detailed representation of aerosol-cloud interactions, our model successfully reproduces the microphysical signatures attributed to the seeding, that were also seen in the observations. Moreover, the model simulations show up to a 2–3 fold increase in the precipitation flux due to the seeding, depending on the seeding rate and injection strategy. However, our simulations suggest that a relatively high seeding particle emission rate is needed for a substantial increase in the precipitation yield, as compared with the estimated seeding concentrations from the field campaign. In practical applications, the seeding aerosol is often produced by flare burning. It is speculated, that the required amount of large seeding particles suggested by our results could pose a technical challenge to the flare-based approach.

Juha Tonttila et al.

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Juha Tonttila et al.

Juha Tonttila et al.


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Latest update: 22 Oct 2020
Publications Copernicus
Short summary
The focus of this study is on rain enhancement by deliberate injection of small particles into clouds (“cloud seeding”). The particles, usually released from an aircraft, are expected to enhance cloud droplet growth, but it's practical feasibility somewhat uncertain. To improve upon this, we simulate the seeding effects with a numerical model. The model reproduces the main features seen in field observations, with a strong sensitivity to the total mass of the injected particle material.
The focus of this study is on rain enhancement by deliberate injection of small particles into...