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https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2020-314
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2020-314
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  10 Jun 2020

10 Jun 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal ACP.

Sensitivity of warm clouds to large particles in measured marine aerosol size distributions – a theoretical study

Tom Dror1,, J. Michel Flores1,, Orit Altaratz1, Guy Dagan2, Zev Levin3, Assaf Vardi4, and Ilan Koren1 Tom Dror et al.
  • 1Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel
  • 2Atmospheric, Oceanic and Planetary Physics, Department of Physics, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK
  • 3School of Earth Sciences, Department of Geophysics, Tel Aviv University, Ramat Aviv, Israel
  • 4Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences, Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel
  • These authors contributed equally to this work.

Abstract. Aerosol size distribution has major effects on warm cloud processes. Here, we use newly acquired marine aerosol size distributions (MSD), measured in-situ over the open ocean during the Tara Pacific expedition (2016–2018), to examine how the total aerosol concentration (Ntot) and the shape of the MSD change warm cloud's properties. For this, we used a toy-model with detailed bin-microphysics. The changes in the MSDs affected the clouds' total mass and surface precipitation. In general, the clouds showed higher sensitivity to changes in Ntot than to changes in the MSD's shape, except for the case where the MSD contained giant and ultragiant cloud condensation nuclei (GCCN, UGCCN). For increased Ntot, most of the MSDs drove an expected non-monotonic trend of mass and precipitation. However, the addition of GCCN and UGCCN drastically changed this trend, such that surface rain saturated and the mass monotonically increased with Ntot. GCCN and UGCCN changed the interplay between the microphysical processes by triggering early initiation of collision-coalescence. The early fall-out of drizzle in those cases enhanced the evaporation below the cloud base. Testing the sensitivity of rain yield to GCCN and UGCCN revealed an enhancement of surface rain upon the addition of larger particles to the MSD, up to a certain particle size, when the addition of larger particles resulted in rain suppression. This finding suggests a physical lower bound can be defined for the size ranges of GCCN and UGCCN.

Tom Dror et al.

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Short summary
We used in-situ aerosol measurements over the Atlantic, Caribbean and Pacific Ocean to initialize a cloud model and study the impact of aerosol concentration and sizes on warm clouds. We show that high aerosol concentration increases cloud mass and reduces surface rain when giant particles (diameter > 9 µm) are present. The large aerosols changed the timing and magnitude of internal cloud processes, and resulted in an enhanced evaporation below cloud base and dramatically reduces surface rain.
We used in-situ aerosol measurements over the Atlantic, Caribbean and Pacific Ocean to...
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